Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1749 - Green Park (Westminster)

The War of the Austrian Succession with Britain and the Dutch Republic on one side versus France, Prussia, and Bavaria on the other, ended with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. George II marked the occasion with a grand public show in Green Park, Westminster, on 27 April 1749.

Since the Renaissance pyrotechnics had been a speciality of Italian engineers. George II hired the services of Florence-born Giovanni Niccolò Servandoni to build the stage setting for the show, and instructed Bologna-born Gaetano Ruggieri to produce a stunning display of fireworks. He commissioned Handel to compose a piece of music that would be played by a military band without stringed instruments. The latter created the Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351: the third movement is named La Paix’) for the occasion. By the mid-eighteenth century British culture was firmly anchored in Europe.

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