Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Balloonists James Glaisher and Henry Coxwell
Negretti and Zambra of London

carte-de-visite portrait of the English meteorologist and aeronaut James Glaisher (1809-1903), seen here with his usual co-pilot Henry Tracey Coxwell (1819-1900).

The son of a London watchmaker, Glaisher was an assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatories at Cambridge and Greenwich, and Superintendent of the Department of Meteorology and Magnetism at Greenwich for thirty-four years. He was a founder member of the Meteorological Society (1850), the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (1866) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Between 1862 and 1866, usually with Henry Tracey Coxwell as his co-pilot, Glaisher made numerous ascents in order to measure the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere at its highest levels. On one ascent in 1862, the two men broke the world record for altitude. Estimates suggest that they rose to more than 9,500 metres and as much as 10,900 metres above sea-level. However, Glaisher passed out around 8,800 metres before a reading could be taken. Coxwell, unable to use his frostbitten hands, opened the gas-valve with his teeth, and made an extremely rapid but safe descent.

Coxwell was the son of a naval officer and was educated for the army, but became a dentist. From a boy he had been greatly interested in ballooning, then in its infancy, but his own first ascent was not made until 1844. In 1848 he became a professional aeronaut, making numerous public ascents in the chief continental cities. Returning to London, he gave exhibitions from the Cremorne and subsequently from the Surrey Gardens. By 1861 he had made over 400 ascents. His last ascent was made in 1885 and in 1887 he published My Life and Balloon Experiences.

Photographed by Negretti and Zambra of London.

Condition: The print presents a small amount of foxing in the area to the right of the basket but is otherwise in very good condition. The mount presents minor wear at one corner and a small amount of faint foxing but is otherwise in excellent condition.

Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard carte-de-visite are approximately 4.1" by 2.5" (10.5 cm by 6.3 cm).

price:  £55
code: cat025
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