Bitten? I’m Smitten

Think before you lick that wallpaper

The recent cold dark evenings have not inspired as much paint-stripping as usual, especially as the rain, frustratingly, continues to get in through our garage roof

But, while the cold keeps me indoors more than normal, I can curl up on the sofa with ‘Bitten by Witch Fever’, a book which can only be described as very tasteful Victorian wallpaper pornimg_4101The book looks at the effect of the use of arsenic in papers, considerably widening the range of colours available. Opinion at the time was apparently divided between people who considered it terribly detrimental to the health to have such chemicals in their homes, and those who believed – rightly or wrongly – that it was only dangerous if they licked the wallpaper



All the papers featured are catalogued with dates and manufacturers, many English but also some French

This book has made me re-think how I currently strip the paper in France. Until now I have not been wearing a mask or gloves, but I probably should protect myself from any possible ‘nasties’

And I am still trying to find information on this wonderful, if fragile, scenic paper in our salonimg_9078

This last picture (below) is a wall of the chapel at the fabulous Royal Holloway College in Egham, completed in 1886

img_3191I admit, I could barely keep from licking it!

Author: poshbirdy

Art deco/ art nouveau maniac enjoying a deep and meaningful relationship with alcohol

10 thoughts on “Bitten? I’m Smitten”

  1. I’m such a woose, I admit I have been wearing mask and gloves and goggles for everything in our house, including stripping wallpaper and paint ‘just in case’ ….. the book is totally covetable and I hope you find the answers to your salon paper some day …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to find a way. I have searched google but found no useful advice. I am hoping for a EUREKA moment but for the moment I cannot bring myself to simply destroy it, so progress is halted!


  2. I know, we are rash restorers aren’t we? It took years for me to realise that I had probably been cheerfully rubbing back lead based paint, toxic varnishes and possibly asbestos tiles!!!

    I have to admit that , days after our last meeting, I realised that the door project you were stripping in the “salon” might have been lead painted!

    I want to see that book. But I doubt it contains anything as stunning as that paper you have with the glorious Canalettoesque landscape vignettes …

    A lot of love has been lavished on your French house historically and it is absolutely right and fitting that fate found you to love it back to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an incredible book, I love that final photo. I wouldn’t even have thought of wearing a mask or gloves to strip wallpaper, but if it’s old I can see it really does make sense, thanks for the good advice, not that we have any to strip, but one never knows, one day in the future perhaps. Stay warm xx

    Liked by 1 person

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