Grand Aerostatic Balloon in which M. Blanchard, on Sat of Oct. 16th, 1784 ascended from the Royal Military Academy at Little Chelsea...


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.


October 18, 1784

Inventory Number


Physical Description

  • Uncolored etching of Blanchard and John Sheldon ascending in the Grand Aerostatic Balloon from the Royal Military Academy. Scene shows the balloon ascending above buildings with figures on the roofs of the buildings cheering for the balloonists. Musical instruments, books, and a few other objects have been dropped from the balloon. Two other balloons are aloft in the distant background. Text below the scene describes the event.
  • John Sheldon (1752–1808), a surgeon and an acquaintance of John Jeffries, made an unsuccessful attempt to fly in a home-made Montgolfier on August 15, 1784. During a second attempt on August 16 the balloon caught fire. He made a third unsuccessful attempt on September 15 from Foley House, Portland Place, with his companion Keegan. He made his first flight with J.P. Blanchard on October 16, 1784. When the balloon would not rise, the pair threw scientific instruments and other items overboard to lighten the craft, as shown in this illustration.
  • 'London, Pubd. by R. Wilinson N. 68 Cornhill 18 Oct. 1784.'

Credit Line

Gift of the Norfolk Charitable Trust


Print, Etching on Paper, Uncolored


  • Mat: 40.6 × 33cm (16 × 13 in.)
  • Unmatted: 34.3 × 24.3cm (13 1/2 × 9 9/16 in.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


ART-Prints, Original

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