Photo credit: Kathleen McGouran/The Ryersonian
If beauty is pain, then Scheele’s green is the most beautiful color ever. Karl Scheele was a chemist in Sweden when he created the pigment in the 1770s. The pretty green hue he found was cheap to make and easy to use in all sorts of items, from clothing to wallpaper. And that’s really too bad, since Scheele’s green was made with arsenic. Oops.
The gorgeous green was used in ball gowns and curtains, pretty much any home fabric, and was so commonplace that it surrounded none other than Napoleon in his final days. In fact, the arsenic-infused pigment may have contributed to his death. Since Scheele’s green was a hot color in Victorian Britain and elsewhere in Europe, he certainly wasn’t the shade’s only victim.
Scheele’s green was used in fashion for about 100 years, a century of death, before another chemist decided to take a good look at the pigment and discovered its true nature.
Now that is some very disturbing history for ya. I would never think that the pigment used to dye fabric could cause so much trouble. Guess I learn something new every day, for sure!
Coffee out on th patio this morning!