Arts & Crafts & Poison

arsenic wallpapers william morris

^ William Morris green wallpapers. Google images search


Andrew Meharg has thoroughly researched about the terrific ‘killer wallpapers’. Conceived and produced by icon of pre-modern design William Morris within his Arts & Crafts movement (1860s-1910s), these wallpapers were largely used during the Victorian era in ballrooms and homes of accommodated British families. After his microscopic analysis of bits of original fragments, he concluded that the green pigment was based on arsenic. It was applied either to interiors or textiles with serious concerns for human health in living space. Walls would slowly release the poison into the air. Dyed clothing would transmit the poison straight into the sweaty body skin. The humidity in the air provoked by human activity in the room intensified enormously the effects of arsenic-based greens and their toxic fumes. Damp ambiences turned the pigment particles volatile.





^ William Morris Wallpaper via popular science



^ Arsenic green ink to print arsenic green textiles, 1848. via popular science



^ Arsenic-based clothing, 1850s via Dyeing to be fashionable



Leave a Reply