Infamous as a hard-to-detect poison, arsenic has been at the center of murder plots for centuries. But while it’s best known for its lethality, this chemical has also been put to other surprising uses over the years, from health tonics to cosmetics to pigment enhancers for food, fabrics and, most commonly, wallpapers. Starting with the invention of a deadly vibrant emerald pigment in the 18th century, arsenic-laced yellow, blue, red and green paints became an instant favorite among designers, making their way onto the brightly colored and intricately patterned wallpapers that were so wildly popular in Victorian homes. Bitten by Witch Fever presents stunning reproductions of 275 sumptuous wallpapers from this era, all found to contain traces of the fatal element. These beautifully patterned samples are interspersed with morbidly fascinating commentary, which traces the incredible story of the manufacture, strange uses and unsettling effects of arsenic, as well as examples of the heated public debate that surrounded the popularity of these toxic pigments. A captivating look at the dark side of Victorian design, this book is a must-have for those who like beauty with a touch of the macabre.
•8"W x 1"D x 10.25"H
•by Lucinda Hawksley