Vintage ad for Jay’s Mourning Warehouse.

In some Asian and Slavic cultures, white is considered to be a color that represents death; a feeling shared by the author of this brief article which was published in the March 1896 issue of The Ladies’ World. I personally think that white makes a nice contrast against the red brick and brownstone of Victorian city houses; but I’m sure that the bows would have been over the top even for me. And with child mortality such that it was in the 19th century, one can imagine that a white festooned casket and an overdressed window could be considered morbid.

Decoration Notes

It is not wise to copy some of the city fashions; for instance, one fashion followed in the city regarding windows. I call it “casket fashion.” In some streets of our great cities the windows from the first floor to the roof are draped with two sets of curtains and window shades of the purest white; the curtains are looped stiffly back with pure white satin ribbons. On looking at them my first impression is that there is a death in the house and that it is an infant or young person. I cannot help fancying that I smell funeral flowers. The casket-like draping of the windows is horrible and sends a chill through the frame of one who loves color and warmth. If white must be used, let it have a creamy tone, the deeper the better, and do have ecru or buff holland shades, and not dead-white, next to the glass. Avoid, also, the white satin ribbons.

Featured Image: TheoRivierenlaan

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