Chintz brings to mind a down-stuffed chair, a sofa worn soft by family and friends. It's where a piping cup of tea is sipped, a novel is read, rain is heard on the window pane.
It's also a style of pottery that features "tightly grouped, highly detailed and vibrant all-over floral patterns," as described on the website for Royal Winton. There is plenty of chintz ware to be found in gift shops and among the department store tabletop displays.
But Royal Winton chintz sets the standard. Originally know as Grimwades, the artisans at the Royal Winton factory still produce this most English of tableware.
My first encounter with chintz ware was a bonbon stand not unlike the one at right, which I recently added to my collection. Details of the pattern, Royal Winton's Florence, below. The black background is particularly stunning, I think.
One of the richest patterns is Julia, below right and at top, from my collection. Like Florence, Julia is still produced. Notice the art deco influence in the shape of the nut dish, at top, next to my grandmother Mammy's portrait. She was something of an art deco design during her dance card days.
Note a couple of other patterns, below, from the Royal Winton website. Brings to mind clotted cream and scones.
Keep an eye out for Royal Winton or Grimwades chintz ware. eBay is a good place to browse and learn about the patterns, including old ones no longer in production. There are plenty of plates, dinner-size and smaller, and cups and saucers. I look for the odd little piece. Bargains are rare to non-existent.
But when you find one you can afford, don't miss out on it, especially if you like a plump, worn, slipcovered sofa on a rainy afternoon. A piece of Royal Winton chintz ware completes it.
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