Publisher: London: Printed for the Writer and sold by J. Bell, British Library, Strand, .
Edition: Third and final edition, issued in close proximity to the prior two editions and in an identical format.
Bibliographical References: ESTC N10835 records four locations of this edition: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Harvard, MIT, LC; three locations of the first edition and seven of the second edition, all issued by J. Bell; Maggs Bros., Catalogue 387, Bibliotheca Aëronautica, 274 (second edition).
Condition: Fine copy.
Book ID: 28041
DescriptionSmall 4to, modern acid-stained calf period-style, orange-red spine label, gilt lettering and two small balloons gilt-stamped on the spine, untrimmed. Extra-illustrated with four contemporary engraved portraits and single leaf from the Westminster Magazine for June 29, 1785, with an account of the balloon flight.
CommentsLaetitia Ann Sage (circa 1750-1817), an actress and the wife of an haberdasher, was the first English woman to fly, which she did in a balloon owned by Vincenzo Lunardi (1759-1806), the pioneering balloonist, a.k.a. the "great aerial adventurer." She was accompanied by the pilot and Lunardi’s assistant, George Biggin. They took off from St. George's Fields in London, where thousands gathered to watch. Their route took them over the Thames, Westminster Bridge and St. James and Hyde parks. An hour and a half later they successfully descended into a field in Harrow Common. In the course of their flight, the brave pair had a lunch accompanied by wine (Mrs. Sage threw the empty bottle over board), and Biggin conducted several experiments. Mrs. Sage’s narrative provides the background behind the flight and numerous details of the flight itself. A later owner of this pamphlet extra-illustrated it with contemporary engravings of Mrs. Sage, Biggin, Lunardi and Mr. Arnold, another aerial adventurer who helped with the logistics of the launch, and an article about the flight, extracted from the Westminster Magazine. On the front free endpaper is the embossed round stamp of the library of William Malpas. A clipped printed description of this pamphlet laid in contains an annotation that reads “Purchased at the Malfonti sale – Pontorie 1974.”.