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Frontispiece from Babington's Pyrotechnia, 1635.

Droeshout, John

Frontispiece from Babington's Pyrotechnia, 1635.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm


Illustrated title page engraved by John Droeshout with a portrait of the author John Babington who was a gunner, mathematician and master pyrotechnician. Also shown are mechanical effects and at the top, two castles sprouting fire with a St George and dragon device in between. Firework displays have been widely used for celebrations in Europe since the 16th century. Elaborate pyrotechnic effects were often created and used in a theatrical setting. In 1635, Babington published this book, 'Pyrotechnia or, A discourse of artificiall fire-works', which describes many effects available at the time, some of which he had devised. 'Pyrotechnia' also dealt with geometry and the use of fireworks for military purposes.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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