Victorian Acid Trip

Before I talk to you about those rather fabulous cushions below, I would just like to say that Mad About The House has been shortlisted for the Best Interiors Blog award run by Prime Location. It’s always great to have recognition and while I’m thrilled to be nominated, I would be even more delighted to win. Or perhaps not to come hopelessly last. So, if you felt so inclined and if you had a spare second, I would be enormously grateful if you felt like casting your vote in support of the blog by clicking to the site here
Thank you so much for your support. Now, cushions.


The work of Joseph Alexander Goode has been described as a Victorian acid trip and looking at these cushions you can see why. I  was going to create a collage of them but then I realised that they are so detailed you actually need to see them big to fully appreciate them.

cotton cushion domina presul

They’re digitally printed onto cotton, filled with duck down and are machine washable (let’s just get the practicalities out of the way).

Goode starts off his designs by hunting through hundreds of vintage etchings and old magazines from all round the world.

digitally printed cushion The Royal Family

He then takes digital photographs and edits, retouches and re-shapes and puts them back together layer by layer merging the images. This process can take hundreds of hours.

cygnus papilio placemats
cygnus papilio placemats cost £49 for four and coasters are £16 for four

In addition to the cushions, the collection includes place mats, mugs and trays. It’s all very Alice in Wonderland, which is one of my favourite books. I love the level of detail. There is also a set of bedlinen for £140 but I’m not sure I could rest with those beady eyes looking at me. They look like they’d be disapproving of the book you were reading or want to talk rather than go to sleep.

bone china mugs from the cygnus papilio collection
bone china mugs from the cygnus papilio collection £15

They’re available from Chloe James Lifestyle, a delightful little emporium in St Albans where they are, apparently going down a storm. They will be online later in the week and cost £65.

Which one is your favourite? I like The Royal Family, there’s something about their expressions that I could gaze at for hours.


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. where can I buy Cygnus papilio cushions…interested in The royal family / Cygnus Victorian acid trip

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