Ten years ago, I posted a brooch by Sphinx which I called ‘Glitz & Sparkle’.  At the time it was the nearest brooch I had to a firework.  I mentioned in the post I needed to look for a ‘proper’ firework brooch.  Finally, after many years searching I have found one.  This month’s brooch to celebrate Guy Fawkes night on the 5th November is by Tatty Devine.  Tatty Devine was started in 1999 by Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine, “there was nothing exciting out there so we just made our own”.  They met when they both studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art in the late 1990s.  Their work is often described as ‘art jewellery’ rather than just ‘jewellery’ for its own sake.   They design and make a wide range of jewellery, using acrylic which is laser cut and decorated.  Their jewellery is made in England, given so much is produced overseas these days, it makes a refreshing change.  I love their bold and colourful designs and have a number of pieces in my collection, including ‘Great Bear’ which depicts the star constellation Ursa major (aka The Great Bear).

Tatty Devine Great Bear Brooch bought in 2011

Fireworks came from China during the Song dynasty (960–1279), but as early as the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) people were throwing bamboo stems into a fire, producing an explosion with a loud sound.   At some point gunpowder was packed into small containers, creating firecrackers to simulate the sound of exploding bamboo.  Firecrackers and exploding bamboo were known as baozhu (爆竹) or baogan (爆竿) (the terms are interchangeable).  These loud explosions (fireworks) were thought to ward off evil spirits.  By the 14th century fireworks were being produced in Europe, but it was not until the 17th century that they became truly popular.  Amédée-François Frézier, a French military engineer, mathematician, explorer and spy published Traité des feux d’artice pour le spectacle (Treatise on Fireworks) in 1706 and revised it in 1747 where he detailed the recreational and ceremonial uses of fireworks, rather than their military uses.  In 1749 George Frideric Handel composed the Music for the Royal Fireworks to celebrate the Peace Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, between England and France.

An etching of the Royal Fireworks display on the River Thames, London in 1749

Today, for safety reasons firework displays generally are organised events.  Many countries have regulations regarding the sale and purchase of fireworks.   For example, here in the UK fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and are not permitted to be set off between 11pm and 7am except for Bonfire Night, Chinese New Year, Diwali and New Year.  The school behind our home has an annual firework event for Bonfire Night, we can enjoy the spectacular display from our own garden, or if it too cold, the comfort of our kitchen.

Firework display from our back garden

Happy Guy Fawkes Night Everyone