A few chintz chairs and pillows by Mario Buatta via AD.
Out of all of the timeless places to begin this series, I figured I would start with the most “controversial” of them all. I mean that in all seriousness, as you will see in the history that I have interwoven between the pictures below.
Chintz comes in so many different variations, but each one is uniquely beautiful. Some of my favorites are Colefax & Fowler‘s Bowood and Jessica, Le Gran Genois by Pierre Frey, Manor Rose Pink Lady by Schumacher and Avondale Floral by Quadrille. There are a plethora of other chic variations and images that I would love to share, but this post would literally never end! I hope you enjoy some of the most coveted displays of this lovely and timeless pattern.
“When I give talks, I always ask a man in the audience, “what color is your bedroom, sir?” and he usually has to ask his wife. So if you are a woman and you want a pink bedroom, then you should have a pink bedroom…” – Mario Buatta
Originally a woodblock printed, painted or stained calico in India, Chintz has been around since the 1600’s. Around then, Portuguese and Dutch traders brought examples of Indian chintz into Europe, and soon the English and French merchants began sending large quantities. By 1680 more than a million pieces of chintz were being imported into England per year, and a similar quantity was going to France and the Dutch Republic.
Celerie Kemble sits pretty with Pink and Chintz
With imported chintz becoming so popular with Europeans during the late 17th century, French and English mills grew concerned since it created competition for silk and wool goods produced by local weavers.
Because of the potential loss of revenue and jobs (as they could not make chintz), in 1686 the French declared a ban on all chintz imports. In 1720 England’s Parliament enacted a law that forbade “the Use and Warings in Apparel of imported chintz, and also its Use or Wear in or about any Bed, Chair, Cushion or other Household furniture.
The interior at Ditchley Park bought by Nancy Lancaster and decorated by Sibyl Colefax.
Even though chintz was outlawed, The Court of Versailles was outside the law and fashionable young courtiers continued wearing chintz. In 1734, French naval officer, M. de Beaulieu, who was stationed at Pondicherry, India, sent home letters along with actual samples of chintz fabric during each stage of the process to a chemist friend detailing the dyeing process of cotton chintz. His letters and samples can be seen today in the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
Nancy Pyne’s home with upholstery in Pyne Hollyhock Chintz. Image via Pinterest
Lee Radziwill’s Paris Apartment.
In 1759 the ban against chintz was lifted. By this time French and English mills were able to produce chintz. Europeans at first produced reproductions of Indian designs, and later added original patterns.
Tory Burch’s Paris store.
Hubert de Givenchy chintz bedroom
Layers of chintz in a room by Daniel Romuladez via Vogue