It’s not pea, its not mint, it’s not asparagus, and it’s definitely not apple. No my friends—Design Lodestar #2 is the unique and singular paint shade of Arsenic. Developed and sold by the esteemed English paint manufacturer , color 214 pays homage to the slightly ghastly shade of green popularized by the Victorians.
At the time (and not by F&B), real arsenic was used to achieve the hue, which was seen on the most covetable dresses, fabrics, wallpapers and paint of the day. Little did everyone know it was a color that could kill.
Rumor has it even Napoleon himself was poisoned by an arsenic-laced wallpaper when he was held in captivity on the island of Elba.
By the turn of the century, the adverse effects of using arsenic tint were widely exposed, color technology had vastly improved, and the practice (thankfully) grew out of fashion.
Instead of closing my eyes for eternity, arsenic opened them to the idea that paint color could be edgy and steeped in history: My mother had painted our living room to match the color of the bisque at the original cafe at Bergdorf Goodman, but that seems tame in comparison.
I liked it so much I even painted a guest room in our former beach cottage the color. I also did the hallways in St. Giles Blue, and the kitchen in Yellowcake, but that’s a story for another day.