Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More about Victorian Wallpaper


from Adventures in Processing

One really interesting thing I remember reading about the Victorian era was that some of their wallpaper contained arsenic. In particular, a vivid shade of green called "Sheele's Green" was especially high in arsenic content. It is thought that many people living with these wallpapers became ill and some died from arsenic poisoning. Arsenic was also used as a dye for some fabrics.

I would love to see a Victorian house with its original wallpaper intact and in great shape, as this is a rare occurrence. Wallpaper was so ephemeral. But maybe that's a good thing. While we love to think of the Victorian era as a gentler time, there were a lot of things they did that were harmful, to the environment and to themselves. I like to recreate the Victorian feel in the safest, most modern way possible. The Victorians would approve, as they were all about the latest technology.

Some good references on arsenic in wallpaper:

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