In researching the marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria (post on that to come), I got sidetracked by this image of fireworks celebrating their entry into a city:

Now and then in my research I read of an extraordinary 17th century fireworks display, spelling out the name of the Sun King, for example, or illustrating a battle.

I think: Oh, sure.

However, fireworks technology—if one could call it that—seemed to be more advanced than what we have today.

The fireworks on the Seine in 1660 on the occasion of the entry of Louis XIV after his marriage, culminated in 250 stars shooting from the tops of the masts of a ship that had been built for the show, forming the names of King and Queen. [My rather free translation from Traité des feux d’artifice pour le spectacle by Frézier.]

Here are a few more images—not necessarily from the 17th century, but certainly close:

This last …

reminds me of the thrill of being just a tad close to fireworks a few years back in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. (Photo of me and my daughter Carrie.)