At the beginning of the 20th century, all-over floral “chintz” fabrics imported from India became very fashionable. These designs were used to decorate ceramics which also came to be called “chintz”.
Early chintz patterns usually had large flowers and exotic birds with rich plumage. By the 1920ss, chintz patters were generally much tighter.
Lithography had been used in printing since the 1860s. Around 1895, two English potters, Leonard and Sidney Grimwade working at Stoke-on-Trent adapted the process to printing on ceramics. When Queen Mary (wife of George V) greatly admired some limited edition chintz ceramics made by the Grimwade brothers in 1913, they decided to apply their lithographic process to mass producing chintz table wares. They called this chintz range “Royal Winton” and later changed the name of their company to Royal Winton as well.
The first mass produced Royal Winton range was Marguerite (based on an 1892 design) released in 1928. This was quickly followed by by about ten more patterns by 1936. Ultimately about 80 chintz patterns were produced before Royal Winton was taken over by Howard Pottery. In 1952 alone, Royal Winton introduced 15 new patterns. Many of the Royal Winton patterns are actually old patterns with different colours, or even with the same colours and a different trim although, during the 1950s, non-chintz patterns such as Tartan and Quilt were also produced. Patterns produces in the 1950s tend to have larger flowers, further apart with richer, darker backgrounds than those made in the 1930s.
Although Royal Winton was always the market leader, many other companies also produced chintz wares. These included A G Richardson (“Crown Ducal”), Shelley, W R Midwinter and Arthur Wilkinson.
Large quantities of A G Richardson’s “Crown Ducal” range of chintz wares were exported to America in the 1920s and 30s and were particularly popular on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
James Kent Limited also produced a range of chintzes which were very popular in the United States. Their wares were generally cheaper and lower quality than Royal Winton. James Kent’s Du Barry pattern remained in production from the 1930s to the 1980s.
The Shelley factory, well known for fine bone china, also produced several chintz patterns on both bone china and earthenware.
Elijah Cotton’s “Lord Nelson Ware” was was utilitarian earthenware. Their range included chunky chintz wares with the pattern often poorly applied and handles and spouts left unadorned. Their Green Tulip pattern is quite common in Australia and New Zealand.
Japanese copies of Royal Winton, called “Manto” wares, are also relatively common in Australia and New Zealand.