The Origins and History of Chintz

by interior designer

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Chintz, which is a cotton textile, frequently glazed and usually displaying a flower pattern, commonly on a light-colored ground, is normally considered to be quintessentially English. However, as with numerous Western concepts, the origins of chintz can be traced towards the East. The Indians were the first to master the skills associated with painting and printing motifs on to cotton and linen employing dyes and pigments with the help of mordants to prevent the hues from fading. A majority of these textiles, which were imported into European countries from the 17th century, were generally hand-painted, even though facets were hand-blocked. All the hues were vibrant, uninhibited and happy.

Composed mainly of intricatel flowered shapes, the patterning came to be both punctilious and visually gratifying, plus there was substantial variety in the designs developed. As opposed to the first printed fabrics of Europe, which usually were an attempt to imitate the more pricey woven materials of the time, the Indian printed designs were noticeably determined by close observation of nature, the harmony of their forms together with their versatility to the printing method. Indian artists exhibited sizeable originality and talent in the planning of the design.


Painted and printed calicoes used to be imported into Europe by the East India Companies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Within France they were recognized as indiennes or alternatively chittes whilst in England chints or chintz, from the Hindu word that means “speckled”. To start with, the cloths were not to be found in substantial sections and as such were utilised only for such uses as table carpets and stool covers. Steadily, on the other hand, as the European marketplace increased, the Indians began to cater for Western preferences, and the calicoes were then employed also as drapes, bed and wall hangings, bed covers as well as garments. When business multiplied, the hues and designs were modified in order to comply with a more restrained design suitable for Europeans. Patterns were sent to India from Britain, France as well as Holland, influencing the size, composition and pattern.

Indian bed coverings called palampores ended up being imported in great quantities. Terrific examples of Indian patterning, they’ve presented inspiration for countless textile plus wallpaper styles.

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