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31 Stunning Free Vintage Hot Air Balloon Art Prints

Get free access to a unique collection of vintage hot air balloon art, including prints and French postcards from the early days of aviation. This collection is perfect for enthusiasts and designers looking for colorful wall art.

Embark on a captivating journey through the skies with our selection of vintage hot air balloon images, each brimming with the allure of bygone eras. These pictures are all public domain, meaning you can use them however you like.

The romance and thrill in these hot-air balloon art prints evoke the dawn of air travel, a testament to human ingenuity and the eternal desire to explore the unknown. Our collection showcases an array of vintage hot-air balloon drawings and prints, including exquisite French postcards that depict the earliest airships and hot-air balloons.

Notably, airships propelled through the air rather than drifting with the wind introduce a dynamic element of movement and exploration in hot air ballooning.

I wrongly assumed that hot air balloons were part of the Jules Verne novel about Phileas Fogg’s journey around the world in eighty days. I have since found out that it is a common myth. 

However, Jules Verne wrote a series of books about characters travelling around Africa in a hot air balloon. The first was called “Five Weeks In A Balloon, published in 1863.

History of Hot Air Balloons

The hot air balloon is the first successful form of flight transport of people. The first hot air balloon flights were tethered by a rope. It wasn’t until 1783 the first untethered manned hot air balloon flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes.

This inaugural flight took place in Paris, France, in a balloon designed by the Montgolfier brothers.  

Like the infamous monkeys in space, animals (sheep duck and a rooster) were used as “guinea pigs” for the first manned hot air balloon flights. 

Not just for safety reasons, but also to test the effects of altitude on the creatures.  As the duck and the rooster could already fly, they were the control animals in the first test flight.

How Hot Air Balloons Work

Hot air balloons work on the principle that heated air has a lower density than cold air.

They are lighter than air aircraft with an envelope (a balloon) which contains the heated air. Suspended beneath the envelope is a basket for carrying people in.

A burner creates heat, which travels up into the balloon and causes it to be buoyant. A vent at the top of the balloon allows the pilot control over ascent and descent.

Vintage hot air balloon prints free

The Vintage Hot Air Balloons

The following hot air balloon prints, illustrations, art, and drawings are in the Public Domain, so they are copyright-free.

To download the image that you want, simply click on the title above it. A higher resolution image will open in a new window on your browser. Click on that image to save or print it.

1909 Watercolour French Postcards 1-8

The first set of vintage hot air balloon art prints are from a collection of vintage French postcards in a 1909 scrapbook titled “Album Gravures et Cartes-Postales: Vieux Paris Types Petits Métiers et Cris De La Rue (1909). “

All the watercolour paintings are by the artist A. Molynk.

1. Departure of Léon – Vintage Hot Air Balloon Art

This is a watercolour postcard featuring a hand-drawn illustration of French politicians Léon Gambetta and Eugène Spuller fleeing Paris via hot air balloon during the Franco-Prussian War. The actual date of this flight was October 7, 1870.

Depart de Leon Hot Air Balloon

2. Spherical Balloon

Postcard featuring a hand-drawn illustrated depiction of the hot air balloon in the style of a sphere with a passenger basket underneath.

spherical hot balloon.

3. First Hydrogen Gas Balloon

This illustration depicts the first flight of a gas-air balloon on December 1, 1783, by French brothers Anne-Jean Robert and Nicolas-Louis Robert and French inventor Jacques Alexandre César Charles.

fist Hot Air Balloon flight

4. First Montgolfier Brother Hot Air Balloon

A hot air balloon art print showing the first successful public hot air balloon demonstration on June 4, 1783, by French brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier.

first hot air balloon

5. Airship Flown by Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau

Postcard featuring a hand-drawn illustrated depiction of a flying airship with assorted propulsion mechanisms and a French flag.

The illustration depicts a type of airship flown by French chemist and politician Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau in 1784.

first airship

6. Guyot’s Balloon

Vintage hot air balloon print in the style of an airship with a sail and oars for steering. The design of the balloon is credited to “Guyot”.

airship style hot air balloon

7. Fish Vintage Hot Air Balloon Art Print

Postcard featuring a hand-drawn illustrated depiction of a navigable hot air balloon designed by aeronaut Ferdinand Lagleize in the style of a fish. 1850.

vintage fish shaped hot air balloon art print

8.The Giant Balloon – Vintage Hot Air Balloon Art

Postcard featuring a hand-drawn illustrated depiction of the hot air balloon Le Géant (The Giant) flown by French photographer and journalist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon.

A proponent of manned flight, Tournachon commissioned the prominent balloonist Eugène Godard to construct Le Géant in 1863.

Giant vintage hot air balloon

Hot Air Balloon Prints 9-21

9. Hot Air Balloon Over Crowd

A political cartoon showing a large balloon flying over a town crowded with people. Coloured etching by James Gillray. From the Welcome Collection.

Hot air balloon

10. Bologna Balloon Flight

A vintage art print shows the balloon of Francesco Orlandi, ascending over the public gardens of Bologna, Italy, on November 6, 1828.

hot air balloon

11. Italian Political Cartoon Featuring Hot Air Balloons

Another hot air balloon illustration from an Italian political publication 1878.

vintage hot air balloon

12. Four Hot Air Balloons

Another vintage hot air balloon art print from the Welcome collection. The caption says people are flying hot-air balloons, all have baskets and one has wings attached. Coloured engraving by Garner.

vintage hot air balloons

13. Three Hot Air Balloons

Another vintage hot air balloon print from the Welcome Collection. This one shows three hot air balloons over a snowy landscape.

snowy landscape

14. Hot Air Balloon Piloted by Eagles

“Newest invention – an air balloon being piloted by eagles 1801”. Blue and yellow striped air balloon is being piloted by a man steering two harnessed birds.

piloted by eagles

15. Lachambre Balloon

A vintage hot air balloon art print labelled “H. Lachambre,” with two men riding in the basket. Poster possibly advertising a balloon manufactured by Henri Lachambre whose facility was located in Vaugirard, a section of Paris, France.


16. Gondola Balloon

A print showing Jacques Alexandre César Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert riding in the gondola of a balloon ascending from the Tuileries Garden, Paris, France, December 1, 1783, in the first hydrogen balloon flight.

16. Camille Grávis 1889

A captive balloon with a clock face and bell, floating above the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. From the Library of Congress collection.

Vintage hot air balloon art above Paris

17. French Group Of Hot Air Balloons

Another hot air balloon etching from the Library of Congress collection. Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville (1855), a group of five balloons tethered together with French flags.

1855 hot air balloon illustration French

18. Japanese Hot Air Balloon Print

A woodcut print of a hot air balloon in Japan by Miyagi Gengyo, 1860. From the collection at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

There is a large collection of vintage Japanese illustrations on Pictureboxblue.

Miyagi Gengyo Woodblock print

19. Parachuting From Balloons

This is another print from the Library of Congress, 1900. The parachutes and trapeze artists remind me of those on the collection of circus posters.

Parachuting From a hot air balloon art

20. Montgolfier brothers 1783

Jean Francois Ganeray painting of the first manned hot-air balloon. The Montgolfier brothers take the tethers off at the garden of the Reveillon workshop, Paris, on October 19, 1783.

Montgolfier Brothers first flight

21. Description of Montgolfier Balloon

1786 description of the historic Montgolfier Brothers’ 1783 balloon flight. Illustration with engineering proportions and description.

Montgolfier Balloon Description

Hot Air Balloon Prints 22-31

22. Hot Air Balloon Greeting Card

From the Library of Congress. The writing on the card translates as “Hope crossing space will bring you my sweetest thoughts and my best wishes.”

You will find more vintage Valentine’s cards here.

Hot air balloon greeting card

23. Ariel Chateau

A Belgian poster shows an air station suspended by a captive balloon at the 1894 world’s fair in Antwerp, Belgium. Advertises Alfred Tobiansky d’Altoff’s patented device for moving passengers from a platform on the ground to the air station.

Ariel Chateau

24. Italia Hot Air Balloon Poster

A vintage Italian poster which shows two men in a captive balloon labelled “Italia”; the uniformed man sits on the hoop, and the other stands in the basket waving a cloth.

Italia Hot Air Balloon

25. The Life of French Balloonists

A fun ink and graphite drawing of sixteen vignettes from the lives of French Hot Air Balloonists, Albert and Gastn Tissandier (1887).

The drawing shows preparation for a balloon ascension, view from the balloon, a landing at Chauvigny and deflation, and a discussion of the event at the dinner table at the Chateau de l’Odière.

Sixteen vignettes from French Balloonists

26. Hot Air Balloon Over Paris

A lovely birds eye view map of Paris with a hot air balloon.  Coloured lithograph, 1846, by J. Arnout.

Birds eye view of Paris with hot air balloon

27. Four Hot Air Balloons Over Paris

A vintage view of Paris, illustrating 4 different types of early hot air balloons.

The balloon to the right of the title is an early image of the hot air balloon flown by Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier.

The other images of hot air balloons are likely examples of early attempts at manned flight and maybe an early Montgolfier prototype (left of the title) and examples of early models by other hot air balloon pioneers.

Four hot air balloons over Paris

28. Woodblock Hot Air Balloon Print

A vintage Japanese woodblock print by Utagawa Yoshitora, 1867, titled “America: Enjoying Hot Air Balloons

America enjoying hot air balloons

29. Balloon Board Game

A vintage board game which shows a varied landscape and waterfront filled with 21 numbered balloons. The chart at the right illustrates 17 different combinations of numbers on a pair of dice.

hot air balloon board game

30. Festival of Balloons

An oil painting of hot air balloons titled “Fête de ballons au château de la Muette”, by Victor Philippe François Lemoine-Benoit, circa 1831-1850.

Painting of hot air balloon festival

31 Aeronautics

A vintage technical illustration showing early balloon designs: “Lana’s aeronautic machine,” “Montgolfiers’ balloon,” “Blanchard’s balloon,” “Garnerin ascending [and] descending” in his parachute, the “Charles & Roberts’ balloon” being inflated, the “form of the wings employed by Lunardi,” and the “form of the wings employed by Blanchard.


Other Related Collections

If you like these vintage illustrations, you will probably enjoy the collection of vintage airline posters. John Emslie’s Illustrations of Natural Philosophy Pneumatics poster features an illustration of a hot air balloon.

You might like some of these other print collections.


Saturday 28th of October 2023

Beautiful collection! Thank you!!


Sunday 29th of October 2023

Yes, they are, thank you.


Saturday 14th of May 2022

What a lovely collection! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!


Monday 16th of May 2022

Thank you, I'm pleased you enjoyed them.

Frances Arendse

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Loved the beautiful hot air balloon images. Thanks so much.


Wednesday 20th of April 2022

Thank you so much, I will be updating this post soon with more images.

Lisa Peterson

Saturday 27th of March 2021

This collection is so fantastic. You've put an amazing amount of work into it and done a really outstanding job of it. Please add a donation button somewhere on the site. I'd love to "tip" you, if for nothing more than bringing joy into my life today.


Saturday 27th of March 2021

Thank you so much, that is kind of you. No need to donate but just make sure you come back and visit and tell your friends about it.


Sunday 13th of December 2020

These images are amazing! I love vintage art and I use it in my junk journals and art journaling. Thank you for your awesome collections!!!


Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Thank you, yes I really like these balloon images too.