Lunardi's second balloon, 29 June 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Colour engraving showing Lunardi's balloon carrying George Biggin and Mrs Sage, crosing the Royal George Rotunda in St George's Fields, London. Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi (1759-1806), Italian secretary to the Neapolitan ambasador in London, made the first ascent in a hydrogen balloon in Britain on 15 September 1784. On this later voyage Lunardi had intended to take three pasengers: Colonel Hastings, George Biggin, and Mrs Sage, a Society belle. Unfortunately, their combined weight was too much for the balloon, so Lunardi and Hastings stood down, allowing Biggin and Mrs Sage to continue alone. Mrs Sage later published her experience as Britain's first female aeronaut. Published by I Sharpe on 20 August 1785.