This image, which presented viewers with the image of a boy riding an enormous eagle high above a sea coast, above the title “The Art of Lying Burlesqued in an Account of A Wonderful Flight or Journey from France to Gibraltar, America, &c. Related by an Eminent Author,” was the frontispiece to the first volume of The Wonderful Magazine, And Marvellous Chronicle; Or, New Weekly Entertainer. A Work Recording Authentic Accounts Of The Most Extraordinary Productions, Events, And Occurrences, In Providence, Nature, And Art, which promised to entertain its readers with “Such Curious Matters as come under the Denominations of Miraculous!, Queer!, Odd!, Strange!, Supernatural!, Whimsical!, Absurd!, Out Of The Way! and Unaccountable!”
The print was linked with an account in the first volume entitled “An Extraordinary Flight on the Back of an Eagle over France to Gilbralter, South and North America, the Polar Regions, and Back to England, within six-and-thirty-Hours,” which offered a first-person narrative of one person’s extraordinary adventures, having accidentally ended up sitting astride a nesting eagle while exploring a ruined temple on the Island of “Thanet.” A brief prefatory comment explained to readers that the account was an extract from a text by (in reality Rudolph Erich Raspe, a well known humourist). This particular story, it explained, was a “satire upon those Writers and Travellers who have renedered themselves ridiculous by the number of montrous and and incredible Stories related in their works.” Although the main target of this satire was the exagerated tales included in many published travelogues of the day, its dramatic vision of a boy holding tight to an impossibly large eagle would also have evoked the more farcical side of the ballooning phenomena, which was itself a favourite theme in many satirical prints in the mid 1780s.