Exhibition | Chintz: Cotton in Bloom

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 9, 2021

Now on view at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London:

Chintz: Cotton in Bloom / Sits: katoen in bloei
Museum of Friesland, Leeuwarden, 11 March — 10 September 2017

Fashion and Textile Museum, Newham College, London, 18 May – 12 September 2021

Girl’s jacket with millefleur pattern, below a hand-painted girl’s chintz petticoat; cotton, painted and dyed using the chintz technique; India, 1725–75; jacket about 1760 (Fries Museum Leeuwarden; photo Studio Noorderblik).

Chintz: Cotton in Bloom is a collection with an extraordinary story, spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles. The complicated technical craftsmanship required to fix bright dyes to cotton, devised across centuries and using complex chemical formulae, meant that for many years chintz was a closely guarded secret, or preserve of the elite. However, by the 18th century, chintz had become more widely accessible. The lightweight, washable, gaily coloured, and boldly patterned cottons eventually became a sensation throughout England and across Europe. These developments resulted in the intricate, colourful flowers of chintz fabric being cherished and preserved by generations.

Chintz: Cotton in Bloom showcases some 150 examples of this treasured textile, originating from all around the world—from mittens to wall hangings, from extravagant 18th-century sun hats to stylish mourning dresses.

The exhibition was organised by the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)—where the show, curated by Gieneke Arnolli, first appeared in 2017.

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