Buoyed up by a couple of stained glass windows in The Cloisters, I have began my Balloon Series using coloured inks (and a little black) only. This is my first venture into the world of colour - I'm strictly mono-man, as a rule.
click on image
| Vincenzo Lunardi (Scotland, 28 July 1786) John Simlett|
Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper
12 inches x 8 inches
Allow me to present another of my Heroes, Vincenzo Lunardi, an Italian who was born in Lucca in 1759. He found fame as the first person to fly in England. This gallant young man became the toast of Britain, the Johnny Depp of his day, the Cap'n Jack Sparrow of the Aeronauts... and darling of the ladies!
He spent the most successful period of his aviation career in Scotland, from September 1785 to late 1786. During this time he wrote frequently to his Guardian, Chevalier Gerardo Compagni.
400 copies of his letters were printed in a book form, by Lunardi, under the title,
Five Aerial Voyages
Series of Letters
Chevalier Gerardo Compagn
by Vincent Lunardi, Esq.
I am privileged to posses copy 34, of the letters, and consequently. feel that I know him fairly well. His written English is impeccable.
Although he was always an Italian, and returned there in April 1788, during his period in Britain he became totally British, writing:
...In my Aerial Voyages in Scotland, I was treated with great Favour. This I attributed to the Character of the Nation [...] I am a Child of Britain by Species of Adoption (May 2, 1786)
You can probably see why I want to write his biography, a real class act. The other half of the biography, however, concerns James Tyler, a Scot who was the first person to fly in Britain (Scotland) beating Lunardi by a month or so.
Tyler is the antithesis of Lunardi - his balloon was a basket covered in canvas, for example, whilst Lunardi's was of the finest silk. He hero-worshipped Lunardi, writing, An Ode to Lunardi, which ran to many pages.
But I've written enough, and risk becoming boring.