Bitten By Witch Fever
Winner: Best Trade Illustrated Book, British Book Design & Production Awards 2017
‘As to the arsenic scare a greater folly it is hardly possible to imagine: the doctors were bitten as people were bitten by the witch fever.’ – William Morris on toxic wallpapers, 1885. Bitten by Witch Fever presents facsimile samples of 275 of the most sumptuous wallpaper designs ever created by designers and printers of the age, including Christopher Dresser and Morris & Co. For the first time in their history, every one of the samples shown has been laboratory tested and found to contain arsenic. Interleaved with the wallpaper sections, evocative commentary guides you through the incredible story of the manufacture, uses and effects of arsenic, and presents the heated public debate surrounding the use of deadly pigments in the sublime wallpapers of a newly industrialized world.
Chosen by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss for their Belletrist Book Club’s Gift Guide.
'In Hawksley's engaging prose, Morris comes across as a contradictory figure - just like the poisonously beautiful wallpaper that adorned so many Victorian homes and like the sumptuous pages of this handsome book, hiding a dark social history within' - World of Interiors 'Lucinda Hawksley explores the fascinating history of the use of arsenic in textiles and wallpapers. The book is beautifully made' - It's Nice That 'Like Horrible Histories, but for grown-ups with a keen interest in interior design' - Emerald Street 'A highly original and beautifully illustrated volume that contrasts alluring, poison-laden wallpapers with thought-provoking narrative' - Town Daily
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