“Globes fill’d with inflammable air”

SARAH LIVINGSTON JAY wrote one last letter to MARY WHITE MORRIS from Paris in September of 1783, a short letter as she had just written a long one to her mother. (See previous posts here, here, here, and here.) She took the opportunity to tell her friend about the ascent of the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon and the “balloonmania” it was causing.

I find myself too weak to indulge myself [in writing a long letter] you will however my dear friend take the will for the deed & excuse rather than blame me. . . . As the experiments that have been made & are daily making of Globes fill’d with inflammable air occasions various speculations & furnishes matters for a variety of conjectures I doubt not but accounts have already reach’d you of the experiment lately made near Paris, & therefore take the liberty of sending you the engravings copy’d from it. It is confidently reported that the colours of the ba[ll] (which you’ll perceive is of a yellowish cast) will be the ton [fashion color] for next winter & there are already handkerchiefs à la ballon. . . . With best Compts to mr morris, I remain dear madam
Yours &c
Sa. Jay

See the letter about the balloon ascent Sarah wrote to her husband who was in England.

The letter in this post is from the Robert Morris Collection at the Henry E. Huntington Library. The balloon pictured is a model of the Montgolfier balloon on display at the Science Museum in the UK, as is the commemorative teapot. The handkerchief commemorating the first ascent of a hydrogen-filled hot air balloon at the Tuileries is of block-printed cotton, Alsace (France), ca.1783, and is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

posted July 16th, 2015 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Fashion, Jay, John, Jay, Sarah Livingston, Morris, Mary White, Paris


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