chapter  8
18 Pages

Competition and Emulation: Music and Dance for the Celebrations in Paris, 1612–1615

The technical aspects of fireworks involved transferable knowledge: a French, English or German gunner, using the same materials, could exchange their expertise. Fireworks were shaped and staged to set into relief the effects of sound, of sparks and light at night, assuming allegorical elements or representing fiction. As far as fireworks are concerned, providing a view of their meaning and illustrating their brilliance is well-nigh impossible. Compared to Paris, and especially to London, the firework display in Heidelberg was conceived as a display of military power, a concept and form belonging to the German tradition. The self-projection of a military nation by means of fireworks is perfectly expressed in the London festivities for the marriage in 1613 of Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate and Elizabeth, daughter of James I. A Description of the several fireworks invented and wrought by Maiesties Gunners and what is intended to be performed in everie of their several set pieces with illustrative coloured drawings.