Bitten by witch fever : wallpaper & arsenic in the Victorian home / Lucinda Hawksley.
- Hawksley, Lucinda
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Beautiful to look at and compelling to read, this book is a highly original and captivating volume that interleaves facsimile sections of alluring, arsenic-laden wallpapers with thought-provoking narrative. It is tracing the arresting story of the use and effects of the toxic pigments ingrained in popular wallpapers of the nineteenth century. Hawksley presents the history of Scheele's green and schweinfurt green, pigments created using arsenic, which produced the vibrant shades whose brilliance made them instant favourites with wallpaper designers and householders alike. With the aid of contemporary case studies and reports in the press, she reveals how, by the middle of the century, manufacturers were producing millions of rolls of arsenical wallpaper, with devastating consequences for those working in their factories and for those living in rooms decorated with the deadly designs. The wallpaper sections display dazzling long-lost work from the great designers and printers of the age, including Christopher Dresser, Corbiere, Son & Brindle, Charles Knowles & Co. and Morris & Co.--whose owner was famously dismissive of the fatal effects of living with arsenic-filled wallpapers.