To continue with the literary theme: who knew that Charles Dickens was a confirmed, lifelong deco-maniac? Not I, until I read Hilary Macaskill’s very entertaining article in The Guardian based on her recent book, Charles Dickens at Home. Evidently Mr. Dickens had a passionate interest in accessories, wallpaper, paint colors, rugs, upholstery, faux-finishing, lighting fixtures, kitchen appliances, and bathroom design (especially the new, high-tech luxury of the “Cold Shower” and, of course, its attendant shower curtains). Like so many others, he was inspired to make some changes in his house by a visit to Italy. Sloppy wallpapering jobs pained him. He kept up with the latest in media technology: in the 1840’s, this meant installing a letterbox in the front door. Touchingly, he died just after installing a long-wished-for conservatory at his house and was able to enjoy it only briefly.
His taste for beauty and comfort led George Eliot to say something very sarcastic… you know, I never enjoyed reading her books nearly as much as people told me I should.
February 7 of this year will be the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth. You can buy Charles Dickens at Home here. I certainly will, as soon as I’ve made some progress with the huge stacks already next to my bed – no new books allowed at the moment!