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Sir George Cayley, 6th Bt (1773-1857), Pioneer of aviation

Sitter in 2 portraits
Cayley made significant contributions to early aeronautical design. In 1799 he formulated the concept of the fixed wing aeroplane with mechanisms for generating lift and propulsion, and published a paper setting out the basic principles of aeroplane flight in 1809. In 1849 he successfully launched a glider large enough to carry a small child from his home at Brompton Hall, near Scarborough. Caley was also keen to educate the public in technological advances, becoming chairman of the Royal Polytechnic at Regent Street, London, where lectures and demonstrations of machines and models were held. A keen proponent of parliamentary reform, he also represented Scarborough as MP for two years.

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The House of Commons, 1833

by Sir George Hayter
oil on canvas, 1833-1843
On display in Room 20 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 54


Sir George Cayley, 6th Bt

by Henry Perronet Briggs
oil on canvas, 1840
NPG 3977