In 1885, Leonard Lumsden Grimwade and his elder brother, Sidney Richard Grimwade, founded a company “Grimwades Limited”, a Stoke-on-Trent based company that produced an English brand of earthenware and fine bone china tableware, known as Royal Winton.
Their Chintz pattern designs, which made the company very successful, first appeared in 1928. It has recently been merged with Duchess China Ltd, its sister company.
Founded by Leonard Lumsden Grimwade and his brother Sidney Richard Grimwade, Royal Winton was formerly known as Grimwade Brothers with roots in Stoke-on-Trent dating over 100 years back. The brand was popular for its design and quality. The natural talent the two brothers had shown for pottery led to the start of the business.
By 1906, Grimwade Ltd already had 4 factories within Stoke-on-Trent after they had earlier purchased in London as well as in Stoke-on-Trent in 1890.
After new manufacture experiments, Leonard Grimwade came up with some revolutionary techniques like the enamel climax Rotary Kiln and the Duplex Lithographic transfers.
In 1913, Queen Mary was gifted with a Mecca Foot Warmer after she has purchased a Winton Teaset on her visit to the potteries with King George V. The brothers issued a catalogue to immortalise the event.
1928 marked the launch of the first Royal Winton Chintz pattern known as ‘Marguerite’ which succeeded right away. The design had floral patterns all over and richly enhanced the company’s reputation. In 1929, Royal Winton became the established trade name for Grimwades Limited after an advertisement in the ‘Potteries Gazette’.
James Plant took over after the death of Leonard Grimwade in 1931. Leonard’s legacy was maintained as the company waxed even stronger.
Over their decades of success, Royal Winton had produced over 60 Chintz patterns while exporting to the USA and most Commonwealth nations. Production of Chintz stopped in the early 1960s as a result of high production costs associated with the design, although Royal Winton Chintz has become in demand in today’s antique market. There are collectors clubs all over the world along with published reference books. Christie’s of London runs auctions exclusive to Chintz pottery.
In 1995, the company who purchased and currently owns it reversed the name to Royal Winton. Recently, it has been merged with its sister company Duchess China Ltd.
The company acquisition has led to the reintroduction of the more popular Chintz patterns on tableware, giftware and Limited Edition pieces. Royal Winton undergoes eighteen separate production processes and uses old lithographing techniques for the Chintz floral effects.
1997 marked the introduction of the first new piece of Royal Winton Chintz for nearly 40 years; an 11” octagonal vase in the Florence pattern which was unveiled in Pasadena, California.
Despite all changes the company had undergone, they remained steadfast to beauty, quality and design which attracted buyers from around the world.
Chintzware is chinaware and pottery with a dense, floral pattern all-over (similar to chintz textile patterns). It takes its origin from the Hindu word “chhintna” meaning “to sprinkle with”. Rather than the conventional hand painting of the 1700s, patterns are applied by transfer printing (a method of decorating ceramics or enamels using engraved copper or steel plate – a monochrome print on paper is taken and transferred by pressing onto the ceramic piece).
Chintz popularity grew so much that it was outlawed in 1722 by the British parliament in order to protect the English Textile industry; a law which was bypassed by “Calico Printers” who created more appealing and affordable products by print-decorating plain white fabric.
The chintz pattern known as “Marguerite” was first introduced by England’s Grimwades Ltd, who had the trade name “Royal Winton in 1928, a design which was reportedly inspired by the wife of the company founder Leonard Grimwade. Other companies that made chintzware include A.G Richardson & Co (Crown Ducal), James Kent Ltd, Elijah Cotton Ltd (Lord Nelson), Wedgewood & Co and Brexton. They all produced a variety of colourful chintz glazed earthenware from 1920s-1960s.
Over 50 different colourful patterns were produced. After the Second World War, manufacturers like Shelley concentrated on bone china (a type of porcelain that is made up of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin) chintzware. At the time, Japanese, Czech and German manufacturers imitated chintzware as Royal Winton started production of some of their chintz in the late 90s.