A Consultation prior to the Aerial Voyage to Weilburg, 1836

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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A Consultation prior to the Aerial Voyage to Weilburg, 1836

by John Hollins
oil on canvas, circa 1836-1838
58 in. x 81 1/2 in. (1473 mm x 2064 mm)
Purchased, 1970
Primary Collection
NPG 4710

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  • John Hollins (1798-1855), Painter. Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify

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On 7 November 1836, Charles Green, the celebrated balloonist, Thomas Monck Mason, the author of Aeronautica, and Robert Hollond, the lawyer and MP, made an important voyage from London to Weilburg, in Nassau, Germany, in the Vauxhall balloon. The journey, a distance of about four hundred and eighty miles, took eighteen hours, a record not beaten for a voyage from England until 1907. Green, Mason and Hollond appear in the portrait grouped together on the right as if discussing the intended voyage. On the left are Walter Prideaux and Sir William Milbourne James, lawyer friends of Hollond who were interested in the project, and the artist John Hollins. The balloon, surrounded by figures, is seen in the distance.

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Current affairs

William Lovett founds the Working Men's Association, the precursor to Chartism, with the aim to achieving equal social and political rights between men of all classes.
A reduction in stamp duty from 4d to 1d helps to keep unstamped newspapers off the street, and leads to wider circulation of legal newspapers.
The first railway line is built in London, connecting to Greenwich and operated by the London Greenwich Railway (LGR).

Art and science

The American poet and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson outlines his theory of transcendentalism in Nature, in which he argues for individualism above traditional authority, stressing the infinitude of the private self and the possibility of achieving an original relation to the universe.
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer publishes On the Will in Nature, a precursor to his famous The World as Will and Representation.


Texas declares its independence from Mexico following a series of battles, including those at the Alamo and Goliad. Sam Houston is the first president of Texas, serving both in 1836-38 and 1841-44.
The city of Adelaide is founded in Australia, at the mouth of the Torrens river, named in honour of Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV.

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