Not currently on display at the V&A

Balloon Ascent at Vauxhall Gardens, 1849

Print
1870s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This hand-coloured engraving was published as a plate to Walter Thornbury et al., Old and New London, 1873-1878, vol. 6, p. 463. It illustrates a chapter on Pleasure Gardens and shows crowds eagerly anticipating the ascent of Charles Green's Royal Victoria Balloon at London's Vauxhall Gardens in 1849.

Originally opened in the 17th century as New Spring Gardens on the south bank of the River Thames and renamed Vauxhall Gardens in 1785, the gardens were a popular resort for city-dwellers where they could enjoy music, concerts, fireworks and food and drink and eat in its pavilions and supper boxes. By the late 18th century, when Bryant Barrett took over its management from his late father-in-law Jonathan Tyers, more novel entertainments were introduced including tightrope walking and balloon ascents. The earliest balloon ascents at Vauxhall took place in 1802 when the French balloonist André-Jacques Garnerin made a demonstration flight, after which balloon ascents became an extraordinarily popular attraction there.

Britain's most celebrated early balloonist Charles Green (1785-1870), who made his first ascent in 1821, took over the arrangement of balloon ascents at Vauxhall, and set a record in 1836 by flying in his 'carbureted' hydrogen gas balloon, appropriately named 'the Royal Vauxhall', 480 miles from Vauxhall Gardens to Weiburg in Germany. He also constructed his Great Nassau balloon for the proprietors of Vauxhall Gardens in 1836 and made several ascents from the gardens, sometimes with paying passengers which proved extremely profitable. The Royal Victoria Balloon was the balloon used in 1838 for the ascent of the female balloonist Mrs Margaret Graham (1804-1880) when she ascended from Green Park as part of Queen Victoria's coronation festivities. Sadly on that occasion the Royal Victoria hit a building in Marylebone, dislodging piece of masonry which killed a passer-by below.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraving
Brief Description
The Royal Victoria Balloon being prepared for ascent at Vauxhall Gardens, 1849. Published as a plate to Walter Thornbury et al., Old and New London, 1873-1878, vol. 6, p. 463
Physical Description
Engraving showing preparations for the ascent of the Royal Victoria balloon at Vauxhall Gardens, 1849. Page 463 of Walter Thornbury et al., Old and New London, 1873-1878, vol. 6. Plate illustrating 'Reminiscences of the old Gardens'. The image shows spectators sitting in a two-tier grandstand, a few spectators on the grass and men loading the balloon with weights and others holding its tethering rope. The side of the balloon that is visible bears the letters 'YAL VICT' - part of the name of the balloon, The Royal Victoria.
Dimensions
  • Height: 18.4cm
  • Width: 26.2cm
Summary
This hand-coloured engraving was published as a plate to Walter Thornbury et al., Old and New London, 1873-1878, vol. 6, p. 463. It illustrates a chapter on Pleasure Gardens and shows crowds eagerly anticipating the ascent of Charles Green's Royal Victoria Balloon at London's Vauxhall Gardens in 1849.



Originally opened in the 17th century as New Spring Gardens on the south bank of the River Thames and renamed Vauxhall Gardens in 1785, the gardens were a popular resort for city-dwellers where they could enjoy music, concerts, fireworks and food and drink and eat in its pavilions and supper boxes. By the late 18th century, when Bryant Barrett took over its management from his late father-in-law Jonathan Tyers, more novel entertainments were introduced including tightrope walking and balloon ascents. The earliest balloon ascents at Vauxhall took place in 1802 when the French balloonist André-Jacques Garnerin made a demonstration flight, after which balloon ascents became an extraordinarily popular attraction there.



Britain's most celebrated early balloonist Charles Green (1785-1870), who made his first ascent in 1821, took over the arrangement of balloon ascents at Vauxhall, and set a record in 1836 by flying in his 'carbureted' hydrogen gas balloon, appropriately named 'the Royal Vauxhall', 480 miles from Vauxhall Gardens to Weiburg in Germany. He also constructed his Great Nassau balloon for the proprietors of Vauxhall Gardens in 1836 and made several ascents from the gardens, sometimes with paying passengers which proved extremely profitable. The Royal Victoria Balloon was the balloon used in 1838 for the ascent of the female balloonist Mrs Margaret Graham (1804-1880) when she ascended from Green Park as part of Queen Victoria's coronation festivities. Sadly on that occasion the Royal Victoria hit a building in Marylebone, dislodging piece of masonry which killed a passer-by below.
Associated Object
Collection
Accession Number
S.248-2016

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record createdApril 15, 2016
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