Bitten By Witch Fever

Bitten by Witch Fever


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Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper & Arsenic in the Victorian Home

By Lucinda Hawksley

The sumptuous, arsenic-green cover, intriguingly embossed with a poison bottle, hints at the paradox of beauty and ugliness inside this volume of Victorian wallpaper; there is a tale to tell.

Following exhaustive research and scientific testing, Lucinda Hawksley throws new light on what was a deadly industrial and domestic scandal. The concise text is interwoven with facsimiles of hundreds of wallpapers from the National Archive Collection, giving an insight into the compellingly lovely but deadly wallpapers.

As early as 1775, arsenic was found to increase the brilliance and durability of pigments used in wallpaper. By the middle of the following century the passion for ravishingly coloured and affordable wallpapers reached its zenith. Doubts were raised about their safety, but it was thought safe as long as you did not lick them! Of course, this was wrong – the flamboyant wallpapers were having appalling side effects. As William Morris observed, householders were ‘bitten as people were bitten by the witch fever’…

Lucinda Hawksley is an acclaimed author, art historian and travel writer. Her empathy with the Victorian era is underpinned by her ancestry: she is the great, great, great granddaughter of Charles Dickens.

Format: Hardback, embossed cover

Dimension: H:25.7cm, W:20.3cm, D:2.8cm

Pages: 256

Illustrations: Fully illustrated text in smaller format with 120 pages of intrwoven facsimile wallpapers

ISBN:- 10: 0500518386

ISBN:- 13: 9780500518380