Claude Ruggieri: Master of Pyrotechnic Brilliance

Fireworks have accompanied celebrations and festivities for at least a thousand years. They were first used in China during the Song dynasty (960–1279), and from there the knowledge of these explosive displays spread to the Middle East and Europe, where it became very popular among the royalty and the upper classes. Fireworks became a hallmark of grand occasions, from weddings to triumphant military victories. The first recorded royal fireworks display was reportedly organized by King Henry VII to commemorate his wedding in 1486. In 1685, James II's coronation presentation was so spectacular that it earned the pyrotechnician a knighthood.

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Fireworks and illuminations in Whitehall and on the River Thames, for King George II of Great Britain, May 15, 1749.


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