HOME SCENT ICON MR SEVERS CANDLE BY ANGELA FLANDERS
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).