Ornamental plate from the Penn-Gaskell collection of 'ballooniana'. Public balloon ascents began to be held in pleasure gardens after the first succesful balloon trips in Paris in 1783. These events attracted huge crowds and led to an explosion of 'ballooniana', or balloon art, expresed in paintings, prints and decorated ceramics as well as many other forms. This plate depicts the trial of a fanciful 'Navire aerien' (aerial ship), in 1780.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library