Dating from the George III period, an exceptionally rare pair of original hand coloured copper engravings in their original simple ebonised wood frames; one showing `The King; Queen, & c.. viewing a Baloon let off in the Garden of Windsor Castle` and the other (unrecorded) showing `A Professor Filling and Explaining to an Audience, the Nature of a Baloon`.
The `Professor` is one Ami Argand (1750-1803), the Swiss Scientist demonstrating to George III and his family at Windsor Castle on 5th November, 1783 one of the first hotair experiments in England. Ami Argand, more famous for the invention of a revolutionary oil lamp that bears his name, had met Etienne Montgolfier in France earlier that same year and became closely involved in his experiments to devise a hot air balloon. The prints were published, `as the Act directs, January 29th, 1784 by J. Basire, No. 16 St. John`s Lane, Clerkenwell.` An extremely interesting pair of prints, archetypal of the Age of Enlightenment and scientific study to delight the most discerning connoisseur.
James Basire (1730-1802)
was an English engraver. He is the most significant of a family of engravers, and noted for his apprenticing of the young William Blake.