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Uncolored etching of seven men standing in a field with three balloons aloft in the background. Vincent Lunardi, right of center, is extending his hand to shake that of James Tytler, left of center. One small hot air balloon is up-ended and descending over head, trailing smoke. The hot air balloon on the left may represent Tytler's Edinburgh "fire balloon" of August 1784. The balloon to the right may reresent Lunardi's craft. Handwritten note below the image identifies the men: '4. Lunardi and lovers of Aeronavigation. 1. John Mitchell 2. Unknown (the Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum identifies this figure as John Neilson, and confirms the other identifications.) 3. James Tytler 5. Jos. Lulson [?] 6. John Spottiswood 7. Myles McPhail the caddy.' The printed notation, "K. facit" lower left of image, is Latin for "K. made it."
Birds of a Feather by John Kay, Etching, English, 1784
The seven men standing together were all involved in early English and Scottish ballooning. Vincent Lunardi, right of center, is extending his hand to shake that of James Tytler, left of center. On August 25 and 27, 1784, Tytler made two short flights in a hot air balloon from Edinburgh, becoming the first Britain to fly from British soil. The following month, Lunardi made the first gas balloon flight in England. The small hot air balloon is up-ended and descending over head, trailing smoke. The hot air balloon on the left represents Tytler's Edinburgh "fire balloon" of August 1784. The balloon to the right is Lunardi's craft.
This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.