Friday, April 24, 2009

Victorian Beauty Tip

Kate Brewington Bennett (1818-1867) Kate was thought to be the most beautiful woman in St. Louis. Part of this owed to her haunting complexion. Unfortunately, her lily-whiteness derived from the ingestion of small doses of arsenic. Unbeknownst to the lovely lady, the poison had a cumulative effect. This led to the belles untimely death at the age of 37.

Her husband had her figure caused in repose and watched over by a mourning woman who stands at her death bed.
Arsenic was often used by Victorian women of the upper class in the forms of creams (usually also containing mercury), wafers and drops for the tongue, to produce a deathly pale tone to the skin. Pale skin was a sign that the woman did not have to do physical labor. Arsenic was easily obtained from their local pharmacists. So easily was it obtained, that it became a "trendy" form of poisoning.


Diane said...

between that and the uber tight corsets, a girl's eventually gonna have to keel over, yea?

Min Self said...

When I moved to Bernalillo NM, with awful water quality (it's got well above the federal regulation for arsenic in the water) I feared not to drink it, knowing the history of arsenic!

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