'Mr Lunardi's New Balloon', 29 June 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Watercolour sketch by I Cordy, a spectator, showing Lunardi's second balloon carrying George Biggin and Mrs Sage away from the Royal George Rotunda in St George's Fields, London. The technical detail of the gantry is emphasised. With this flight Mrs Letitia Sage, a noted buxom beauty, became the first English woman 'aerial traveller'. Lunardi had intended to take three pasengers but the combined weight was too much for the balloon, so Lunardi and Hastings agreed to stand down. Mrs Sage later published her experience as Britain's first female aeronaut. Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi (1759-1806), Italian secretary to the Neapolitan ambasador in London, had made the first ascent in a hydrogen balloon in Britain on 15 September 1784 from Moorfields in London.