Deeble (Thomas)

View of the Ascent of Mr Lunardi's Celebrated Air Balloon, from the Artillery Ground Sept. 15th 1784,

£150


London, John Sewell, 1784.
Vincenzo Lunardi, ‘the Daredevil Aeronaut’, (1754-1806) made this historic first flight to take place in England in his hydrogen balloon, in front of the Royal Artillery House in Finsbury Square. The craze for flying had already started in France and Scotland, and James Tytler had made the first British flight in Edinburgh a month before this one. But whole notion was met with scepticism in England, inspiring this demonstration by Lunardi and his collaborator, George Biggin, to prove its viability. The impatience of the large crowd forced Lunardi to take off before he was completely ready, including leaving Biggin behind, though he did have a cat, a dog, and a caged bird on board. This inaugural flight covered 24 miles, finally landing in Standon Green End, in Hertfordshire, having made a couple of brief touchdowns on the way, including one to release the travel sick cat. This depiction of the scene appeared a fortnight later in the European Magazine, published on October 1st, 1784..