Pictures of fireworks from before they blow up from a little while back. Plates from “Beschrijving van kunst vuurwerken : zoo als dezelven zich in hunne uitwerkingen vertoonen : met CXIV uitvoerige teekeningen.” From around 1780. If only we could smell the gunpowder and watch them blow up. But this will have to do.

Figure 30.  Page 252.
Figure 30. Page 252. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n252
Figure 32. Page 255.
Figure 32. Page 255. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n254
Figure 33. Page 257.
Figure 33. Page 257. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n256
Figure 41. Page 269.
Figure 41. Page 269. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n268
Figures 48 and 49. Page 285.
Figures 48 and 49. Page 285. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n283
Figure 59. Page 303.
Figure 59. Page 303. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n301
Figure 79. Page 331.
Figure 79. Page 331. Collection of and digitalized by the Getty Research Institute. In the public domain. via https://archive.org/details/beschrijvingvank00hall/page/n329

Paintings of fireworks bursting so close you can smell the gunpowder. From various places and times . . . but all bright. . . what else could a skyrocket be?

1024px-Middleton_Manigault_-_The_Rocket_(1909)
“The Rocket.” 1909. American. Oil on canvas. Edward Middleton Manigault, artist (1887-1922). Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. In the public domain in the United States because the artist has been dead longer than 70 years. via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Middleton_Manigault_-_The_Rocket_(1909).jpg.
"Fireworks." 1927.
“Fireworks.” 1927. Japanese. Painting. Harue Koga, artist (1895-1933). In the public domain in Japan and the United States due to age. via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hkfireworks.jpg.
"Il Fuoco d'Artificio." 1887.
“il Fuoco d’Artificio.” 1887. Belgian. Painting. James Ensor, artist (1860-1949). Collection of the Albright-Knox Gallery. Cc Licence 3.0. via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_ensor,_il_fuoco_d%27artificio,_1887.jpg.
"Fireworks over Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome." 1775.
“Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome.” 1775. Brandenburg/Italy. Gouache. Jakob Philipp Hackert, artist (1737-1807). Collection of the Graphische Sammlungen. In the public domain in the United States because the artist has been dead over 70 years. via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hackert,_Feuerwerk_auf_der_Engelsburg_in_Rom,_1775.jpg.

Japanese firework designs ready to explode in the sky outside your window. From early 20th century catalogs published the English fireworks firm C. R. Brock.

“Illustrated catalogue of night bomb shells.” Front cover.
“Illustrated catalogue of night bomb shells.” Front cover. Hirayama Fireworks.
#78 and 79.
#78 and 79.
#29.
#29.
#14 and 15.
#14 and 15.
#78.
#78.

Night shells.

These are taken from here https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/11/japanese-firework-illustrations/?mc_cid=0af526bb1f&mc_eid=869a5459f2. The library in Yokohama, Japan has made PDFs of several of these catalogs available for free download on their website http://www.city.yokohama.lg.jp/kyoiku/library/digitalarchive/hirayama.html. You can find the links at the bottom of their website. Enjoy!