Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Print of the Day: The Balloon from the Gardens of the Mermaid Theatre, 19th C.

The Victoria & Albert Museum

I just adore this. I’ve always had a deep appreciation for hot air balloons. In fact, I live in an area where they are often overhead and I always, for some reason, believe that catching a glimpse of one is good luck. So, let’s all have some good luck today as we appreciate this image.

This hand-colored etching is entitled “A View of the Balloon of Mr. Sadler's ascending with him and Captain Paget of the Royal Navy from the Gardens of the Mermaid Theatre at Hackney on Monday Aug 12 1811.” Not a title that just rolls off of the tongue, but it is, indeed, very specific.

This print from the V&A’s Harry Beard Collection, was published in Britain in the early Nineteenth Century. It has been expertly brightened with watercolor. The scene depicted here is one of a number of experiments in ballooning performed by James Sadler in 1811. Sadler, in 1784, was the second person in Britain to accomplish an ascent in a balloon. Throughout his life he continued to experiment with flight.

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