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Fireworks and Color in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


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image of Early Science and Medicine

It has commonly been assumed that there were no colors in fireworks prior to the early nineteenth century. This essay argues that there were a variety of color recipes in early modern manuals on fireworks, though the nature and value of color in displays differed quite significantly from later periods. Color was used in pyrotechny in production practices, and carried alchemical, medical and other associations. Colored fire was not the principal or exclusive location of color in early modern displays which gave much weight to colorfully painted scenery, decorations and costumes. That modern authors place so much emphasis on colored fire is due to the promotion of color in pyrotechny by writers working in the age of the Chemical Revolution.


Affiliations: 1: University College London
s.werrett@ucl.ac.uk


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/content/journals/10.1163/15733823-02046p07
2015-12-07
2017-11-24

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