Everybody has a favorite fabric. Even if you are not particularly into fabrics, you know what you like. There is that one that you think you might use someday when you are not pinching pennies to furnish your apartment through all our favorite catalogs and Etsy shops – yes, that fabric. If you had asked me a few years ago to name my favorite fabric, hands down it would have been a Quadrille or China Seas print – you really cannot go wrong. However, if you had told me then that in a few years my favorite fabric would be chintz, I would probably have answered, “Do you think I’m a %$*!ing Stepford Wife?” And my reaction would have been wrong. Above is a picture of Lonny Editor-in-Chief Michelle Adams’ NYC bedroom. Her bed canopy? Schumacher’s Pyne Hollyhock Chintz in Charcoal – my favorite fabric.
This fabric is my absolute favorite, and isn’t it glorious? Despite my worry about being a chintz-loving Stepford wife, this fabric actually looks extremely modern and cutting edge. In fact, the history of chintz is one of cutting edge technology and scandal, not of suburban stuffiness. When chintz was introduced to Europe from India in the 17th century, it became so popular that it threatened to cripple the British and French textile industries, and so it was outlawed … just long enough for the British and French textile manufacturers to become extremely well adept at crafting their own chintzes.
Above is Mrs. Nancy Pyne, known to her friends as “Princess”, in the living room of her Far Hills, NJ home, Cherryfields. Mrs. Pyne had Cherryfields decorated by Parish Hadley in 1962, and Albert Hadley chose the Hollyhock Chintz as the dominant fabric in the room. Meanwhile, chintz had a bit of a fall from grace, and Schumacher discontinued the Hollyhock print. Fast forward to years later when Mrs. Pyne was kind enough to loan some fabric scraps back to Schumacher so that they could resuscitate this venerable chintz, hence the name ‘Pyne Hollyhock’. This time, they produced it in the original charcoal, as well as two additional colorways, seen below.
This colorway, called Tobacco, is meant to mimic the effect of time on the Charcoal colorway, as evidenced by the fabric in Mrs. Pyne’s living room.
Here is another shot of Mrs. Pyne’s living room with the Hollyhock Chintz. Notice the color of the fabric – time and sun have made it look more like the Tobacco colorway above. When Mrs. Pyne sold her house, or rather traded houses with John Dransfield & Geoffrey Ross, she brought both her Hollyhock and Albert Hadley with her, retaining the fabric that the pieces had been upholstered in 47 years prior. See below.