Decorative Fan from the Kendall Collection
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Clouds in a Bag

The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection

The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. From August to December 1783 enormous crowds gathered to watch one balloon after another rise above the Paris rooftops, carrying the first human beings into the air. The excitement spread as daring aeronauts took to the sky in cities across Europe. The balloon was proof that the twin enterprises of science and technology could produce what looked very much like a miracle. 

The objects in this exhibition represent a portion of the rich collection of Evelyn Way Kendall and her husband, Henry Plimpton Kendall. The Kendalls were among the great American collectors of their generation. From the early 1920s to the 1960s, Mrs. Kendall amassed over 1,000 works of art, prints, posters, objects, manuscripts, and books documenting the history of flight. The treasures in her collection provide a sense of the wonder and excitement experienced by those who witnessed the birth of flight over two centuries ago. 

The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection is a generous gift of the Norfolk Charitable Trust, which also supported the exhibition.

Location in Museum

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
February 2017
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Curators

Tom Crouch

Gallery

  • Balloon Print from Kendall Collection

    Balloon Print from Kendall Collection

    The crowd cheers the London ascent of the balloon Royal Sultan, flown by Mr. Charles Paternoster, August 7, 1854.

  • Decorative Fan from the Kendall Collection

    Decorative Fan from the Kendall Collection

    Fan dating to 1783 painted with the image of the first hot air balloons to carry living creatures aloft (right and left) and the first gas balloon to carry human beings on a free flight.

  • Duvelleroy Company Fan

    Duvelleroy Company Fan

    This fan from the Kendall Collection was produced by the Duvelleroy Company in about 1900. It shows ascents by J.B. Blanchard (right) and J.A.C. Charles, with fashionable ladies and gentlemen watching a passing balloon through a mica window. The sticks are gilded Ivory. A tiny opera glass is mounted where the sticks connect.

  • Balloon Print from Kendall Collection

    Balloon Print from Kendall Collection

    An enthusiastic crowd gathers for George Graham’s launch from the New Hungerford Market, London, July 2, 1833.

  • Small box from Kendall Collection

    Small box from Kendall Collection

    A small box featuring a mixed hot air and hydrogen balloon over the English Channel from the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection.

  • Water color painting from the Kendall Collection

    Water color painting from the Kendall Collection

    A miniature water color painting of a balloon over a French military camp, c.1794 from the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection.

  • Snuff box from the Kendall Collection

    Snuff box from the Kendall Collection

    A circular wood snuff box, from the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection, with scene of the Montgolfier flight from Versailles on  September 19, 1783. The balloon carried a sheep, a duck and a rooster into the air.

  • Ivory Snuff Box from the Kendall Collection

    Ivory Snuff Box from the Kendall Collection

    A miniature painting of the first flight of a gas balloon from the Champ de Mars on August 27, 1783, on an ivory snuff box from the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection.

  • Bandbox from the Kendall Collection

    Bandbox from the Kendall Collection

    A bandbox celebrating the flight of Richard Clayton from Cincinnati, Ohio, 1835 from the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection.

  • Decorative Fan from the Kendall Collection

    Decorative Fan from the Kendall Collection

    This decorative fan from the Kendall Collection depicts the ascent of J.A.C. Charles’ first hydrogen balloon from the Tuileries Palace on December 1, 1783. The sticks are carved and gilded ivory. 

  • Duvelleroy Company Fan

    Duvelleroy Company Fan

    This fan from the Kendall Collection was produced by the Duvelleroy Company in about 1900. It shows ascents by J.B. Blanchard (right) and J.A.C. Charles, with fashionable ladies and gentlemen watching a passing balloon through a mica window. The sticks are gilded Ivory. A tiny opera glass is mounted where the sticks connect.

  • 18th Century Decorative Fan

    18th Century Decorative Fan

    This late 18th century fan from the Kendall Collection shows three images of the first hydrogen balloon, flown by J.A.C. Charles and M.N Robert. The sticks are carved Mother of Pearl.

  • Decorative Fan With First Hydrogen Balloon

    Decorative Fan With First Hydrogen Balloon

    This decorative fan from the Kendall Collection depicts the ascent of J.A.C. Charles' first hydrogen balloon from the Tuileries Palace on December 1, 1783, and the landing at the village of Nesles-la-Vallée, outside Paris. The sticks may be mahogany with bone inlay.

  •  J.P. Blanchard’s Balloons on Decorative Fan

    J.P. Blanchard’s Balloons on Decorative Fan

    This decorative fan from the Kendall Collection depicts too the right and left a lady and gentleman watching one of J.P. Blanchard’s balloons in flight. The ivory sticks are intricately carved and gilded with images of people, cherubs, birds, and flowers.