Friday, 8 August 2008

Come into my life bonny Jean

11 Montpelier Street was my first port of call when I began my decorating journey. I had hoped that their charming chintz would lend a certain polish to a decidedly unpolished client. At the time they also had the most exquisite collection of plains, small patterned monochromatic chintz, that were produced exclusively for them. Sadly, those are now nothing more that a memory.

In 1961 Jean Monro, daughter of the famous London Decorator of the 1920s Mrs Geraldine Monro, decided to reproduce and market the favourite designs her mother had used over the years, some of which were already being produced exclusively for the decorating company. Thus Jean Monro Ltd. came into being.

In 1998 Jean Monro Ltd was acquired by Turnell & Gigon.

Taken from a wood-block design of 1853, this design has been given a fresh, naturalistic colouring. The original was so dirty as to make the colours unworkable for such a brightly-coloured flower as the Sweet-Pea. This fabric was named to celebrate 75 years of fine decorating by Mrs Monro Ltd.

A very handsome, large-scale bouquet of Hollyhocks, hand-blocked on heavy 100% linen. The original printer's "fent" was a hideous colour and has not been reproduced. Probably mid 19th century, 73 block applications are needed per repeat of this design.

A climbing design of Roses and Plumbago on a stippled and striped background. Very little alteration was made to the original document
This is a particular favourite in the pink/tan colourway. Which I recently used on a deep buttoned chaise lounge.

The first design to be produced after the founding of the Company and still a "signature" today. Clearly there was an error in the naming of this design as the flowers shown are Auriculas.
The moiré background of this print was typical of their exquisite collection of plains.

This beautiful design of 1855 is printed using some 24 blocks which have been used for over a century. 96 applications are required to complete one repeat of the design. For many years printed only with a blue ground, in 1983 scraps of 2 further colourways were found and the second colourway added to the collection.

Adapted from a block-printed chintz dating from the early 1840s when this type of climbing design was very popular. Roses and Hydrangeas were often featured in Victorian designs and the stippled ground was also a favourite.

Another favourite, which was the first chintz I ever used when I began decorating.

Now playing: Kate Bush - Oh England My Lionheart
via FoxyTunes


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, these are prints after my own heart. Amelia looks quite similar to a linen Colefax and Fowler I used for a client's sitting room last year.

All this, and Kate Bush, too. I'm spoiled.

Cote de Texas said...

There's a pretty brown and pink oriental toile in the collection too that I love. thanks for the information about the family - I never knew the back story.

columnist said...

The Lily/Auricula colour tones are exquisite, and very rich.

Pigtown-Design said...

I love the hollyhocks and the sweet peas!

The Peak of Chic said...

I'm partial to Polyanthus- so charming! I may be wrong, but I believe you can purchase Jean Monro fabrics in the US through Clarence House (??)

Toby Worthington said...

11 Montpelier St~I remember it well, and on my first journey to London, happened by the charming shop called Mrs Monro. It was anything but forbidding.
And the chintzes were scrumptious. Thanks for the memory jog.


Ah, you had me at Amelia, so fresh and pretty! Thanks,
Lisa & Alfie

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I love, love, love Jean Munro's fabrics. Thank you for posting this, HOBAC. Absolutely made my day.

HOBAC said...

Glad you all liked the chintz from Jean Monro. There is something special about them. And they are indeed available in the US through Clarence House as Peak pointed out.

maison21 said...

there is something very modern about the rose and hydrangea print- amazing that it dates from the 1800's.