Collecting Chintz China

Whenever you go to an antiques fair you are sure to see a large collection of Chintz china which seems to be ever popular. The design was originally copied from the colourful floral fabrics which were first imported into Britain in the 17th century. You can make a striking display by grouping a number of pieces of chintz china together on a sideboard or display table.

Chintz china first appeared in the 1820s in Staffordshire when some of the designers copied the colourful floral displays onto china.  The initial method was very slow because they used transfer printing.  It wasn’t until the late 19th century that Leonard and Sidney Grimwade hit on the method of fixing lithographic transfer prints onto china both, above and below the glaze.  This meant that Chintz china could now be mass-produced.  It is said that Queen Mary was very fond of Chintz china and she purchased a set for her own use.

The first pattern to become really popular was Marguerite which was made up of white daisies, bluebells and yellow flowers. It was made by the Grimwade brothers at the Winton pottery in 1928.  Other popular patterns were made at Crown Ducal by A.G. Richardson, including Blue Chintz, Florida and Festival.  Many of these pieces were exported to America and Chintz china is still very popular in America today, as well as Canada and Australia.

Although the Chintz pattern was produced by various potteries it is Royal Winton that is best known for it.  More than 60 Chintz patterns were released over 50 years and collectors like the diversity, not only of the patterns but also the many different shapes of the china.  The Summertime pattern, first released in 1936, has been among the most popular over the years.  It’s medley of bright summer flowers has delighted generations and it is highly collectable.  Among the other popular designs are Swee Pea, Anemone and Victorian Rose, while other patterns took their names from English villages.  Chintz china became especially popular after the second world war when the population were pleased to have something colourful in their homes again.

Chintz patterns that sell particularly well are Julia, Shelley’s Melody and Welbeck and although some small pieces may be bought for around £5 you would have to pay between £150 and £200 for a Melody vase.

During the 1950s and 1960s the public’s taste changed and this was reflected in the Chintz patterns, the flowers were larger and the colour richer and the Peony and Morning Glory designs were using deep reds and blues.

Chintz china does not get bought en mass, like some other collectables and that could be because of changing tastes.  Quaint floral patterns do not mix well with the minimalist lifestyle that has now been popular for a few years.  It is, therefore, possible to build up a collection in slow time and you can afford to search for the patterns you really like.  While Royal Winton are among the most expensive of the Chintz china pieces you might want to check out Chintz china from other potteries.  Shelley’s Empire and the W R Midwinter Springtime range are lovely and will cost you less.

There are many opportunities for the collector – you could either collect all pieces of a particular pattern, or pick something like a milk jug and then collect jugs in their various patterns.  Be careful to examine pieces for cracks or chips before you buy, also bear in mind that strong colours can fade over time.

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