It's time to show our mirth and introduce a new series of posts entitled- Fashion (Victim). Each week we will introduce you to an unlucky lady, or two, who must spend the rest of eternity dressed, well, not at her best. One wonders what these ladies did to their mantua makers to make them hate them so...
This week we present two print. The first hails from from La Belle Assemblee, January 1809. It is titled "Walking Dress in Feb. 1809". One gets the general impression of clerical influences, with a dash of Ivan the Terrible.
Gentle Readers, this dear lady truly was a victim. All of us here can appreciate that magnificent green. But did you know green can kill? Her spencer, parasol, purse and shoes were more than likely produced from arsenical green which was created using, you guessed it- arsenic.
The copper arsenite was created by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1778, mixing potassium and white arsenic on a solution of copper vitriol. Prior to this date greens were made by mixing colors together, but failed to reach the vivid green of the Scheele's Green, as it was called. By 1814 he had created an even more vivid color, called Emerald or Schweinfurt Green, after the town of production in England. In America is was called Paris Green.
Many a young a garment and flower maker met a horrible death trying to create this beautiful color.
For further reading see Fashion Victim: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present, by Allison Matthews David.