Balloon in the Pantheon


Valentine Green (1739-1813) after a design by Frederick George Byron (1764-1792), A Representation of Mr. Lunardi’s Balloon, as Exhibited in the Pantheon, 1784. Aquatint. GC014 Aeronautical Illustrations Collection.

The Balloon Stone (Lunardi Monument) at Standon Green End reads: “Let posterity know, and knowing be astonished, that on the 15th day of September 1784 Vincent Lunardi of Lucca in Tuscany, the first aerial traveller in Britain, mounting from the artillery ground in London and traversing the regions of the air for two hours and fifteen minutes, in this spot revisited the earth.” Lunardi flew twenty-four miles with a dog, a cat, and a pigeon. The cat got airsick. His balloon was then exhibited in the Pantheon.

This print is one of 400 in the Aeronautical illustration collection, collected by Harold Fowler McCormick and given to Princeton University by Alexander Stillman of Chicago, a relative of the McCormick family. Here are a few others.


Grand Jubilee in Honour of Peace, 1814. Published by John Pitts (1765-1844), Engraving with printed color. GC014 Aeronautical Illustrations Collection. This Jubilee on Augt. 1, 1814 was to Celebrate the return of Peace and the centenary of the reign of the illustrious House of Brunswick and to commemorate the glorious battle of the nile.


Thomas Shotter Boys (1803-1874), Piccadilly Looking Towards the City published in London As It Is, 1842. Lithograph. GC014 Aeronautical Illustrations Collection


Paul Gauci (active 1834-1866), A View in the Neighbourhood of Sevenoaks Selected by Mr. T. R. Jolliffe and Professor Cornillot for the Scene of Their First Aerial Ascent, no date (after 1825). Lithograph. GC014 Aeronautical Illustrations Collection


Thomas Rowlandson (1756 or 1757-1827), The Departure of the Balloon from Dover, 1794. Etching. GC014 Aeronautical Illustrations Collection