7th April 2017
Those looks might strike you dead, but in the Victorian period, wallpaper could–and did–kill. In one sense, it wasn’t that unusual, writes Haniya Rae for The Atlantic. Arsenic was everywhere in the Victorian period, from food coloring to baby carriages. But the vivid floral wallpapers were at the center of a consumer controversy about what made something safe to have in your home.
The root of the problem was the color green, writes art historian and Victorianist Lucinda Hawksley for The Telegraph. After a Swedish chemist named Carl Sheele used copper arsenite to create a bright green, “Scheele’s Green” became the in color, particularly popular with the Pre-Raphaelite movement of artists and with home decorators catering to everyone from the emerging middle class upwards. Copper arsenite, of course, contains the element arsenic.
But I’ll bet it was gluten-free.