Chintz: Cotton in Bloom

Over 150 examples of this textile, from mittens and wall hangings to extravagant 18th-century sun hats and stylish mourning dresses.

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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 and from extravagant 18th-century sun hats to stylish mourning dresses.

Chintz: Cotton in Bloom is accompanied by two, smaller displays. The first, Victorian Chintz and its Legacy, is curated by celebrated textile historian Mary Schoeser and explores British reproductions of chintz in the seventeenth century. Via a selection of examples from UK textile archives, this display follows advances in British textile printing technologies, and their contributions to the rise of ‘English chintzes’, popular with the Victorian aristocracy. The second, Annie Phillips: Ancient Technique and Contemporary Art, explores how artist Annie Phillips employs the ancient form of wax-resist dyeing known as Batik. Over 30 examples demonstrate how, via study with craftsmen in Indonesia and Ghana, Phillips has come to utilise Batik to create unique pieces of textile art.

This exhibition is curated by the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands and adapted for The Fashion and Textile Museum by Dennis Nothdruft, head of exhibitions.

Coming Soon

The Biba Story, 1964-1975

Exploring how fashion phenomenon Biba blossomed to become the world’s first lifestyle label.

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