ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style News -

The ‘Mr Severs’ can­dle is a unique fra­grance be­cause it was cre­ated for a par­tic­u­lar house to evoke a par­tic­u­lar at­mos­phere. That house is a ter­raced brick ed­i­fice in Spi­tal­fields, built in the 1720s and in­hab­ited like so many in the area at that time by Huguenot silk weavers. In 1979, it was bought by an Amer­i­can named Den­nis Severs and turned into a re­mark­able home-meets-mu­seum where vis­i­tors are in­vited to step back into the past. Scent is a vi­tal part of that ex­pe­ri­ence. What did an 18th-cen­tury house smell like? That was the ques­tion that London per­fumer An­gela Flanders had to an­swer when she was ap­proached by the cu­ra­tors of the mu­seum, who took over af­ter Severs’ death in 2000. ‘The Huguenots would have scented their houses us­ing po­man­ders and strewn herbs over the wooden floors, sweep­ing them to the skirt­ing boards to de­ter mice and ver­min,’ she says. Half-con­sumed or­anges and pomegranates oozed juice on plates, log fires flick­ered (easy to for­get in the modern age how won­der­ful these smell), beeswax can­dles gave off a hon­eyed odour and sweet­meats laced with clove and cin­na­mon dif­fused a spicy warmth. Flanders in­cluded sweet or­ange, berg­amot, am­ber, woods and spices in her can­dle. It is the smell of the era per­fected, with nary an un­washed 18th-cen­tury hu­man to com­pli­cate the plea­sure. £40 (an­ge­laflan­ders-per­fumer.com; den­nis­sev­er­shouse.co.uk).

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