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Bitten by Witch Fever

Bitten by Witch Fever

Wallpaper and Arsenic in the Nineteenth-Century Home

by Lucinda Hawksley
Hardback
Publication Date: 01/08/2016
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The shocking story of a deadly trend in Victorian wallpaper design, illustrated by beautiful and previously unseen arsenic-riddled designs from the British National Archives

In Germany, in 1814, Wilhelm Sattler created an extremely toxic arsenic and verdigris compound pigment, Schweinfurt green-known also as Paris, Vienna, or emerald green-which became an instant favorite amongst designers and manufacturers the world over, thanks to its versatility in creating enduring yellows, vivid greens, and brilliant blues. Most insidiously, the arsenic-laced pigment made its way into intricately patterned, brightly colored wallpapers and from there, as they became increasingly in vogue, into the Victorian home. As its use became widespread, commercial arsenic mines increased production to meet the near-insatiable demand. Not least of which was the UK's largest mining plant, DGC whose owner was William Morris, originator of the British Arts and Crafts movement and arguably the finest wallpaper designer of his generation.

Bitten by Witch Fever (Morris's own phrase to dismiss arsenic- and- wall-paper-related public health concerns in 1885) tells this fatal story of Victorian home décor, building upon new research conducted especially for this book by the British National Archive, on their own samples. Spliced between the sections of text are stunning facsimiles of the wallpapers themselves.

ISBN:
9780500518380
9780500518380
Category:
Ancient history: to c 500 CE
Format:
Hardback
Publication Date:
01-08-2016
Language:
English
Publisher:
Thames & Hudson, Limited
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
256.54x203.2x27.94mm
Weight:
0.92kg
Lucinda Hawksley

Lucinda Hawksley is an author, broadcaster and public speaker. She has written more than twenty books, including critically acclaimed biographies, art history, social history, the history of London and travel writing.

This is her third book about her great great great grandfather, Charles Dickens. Lucinda has appeared on television and radio programmes around the globe. She is a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

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