Friday lates: the East India Company and the passion for chintz

Course Dates: 29/09/23
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Online
Explore the story of how Indian painted and printed cottons became an important trade commodity for the Western domestic market, and the far-reaching impact of their design and manufacture.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00

Course Code: VB524

Fri, eve, 29 Sep - 29 Sep '23

Duration: 1 session

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

In this Friday evening art history class we will trace the early origins of the painted cottons industry in the Subcontinent, and how it came to become an important commodity for global trade. With the discovery of new shipping routes, we see the rise of the “East India” trading companies of major powers in Europe. Portuguese, Dutch, French and British merchants engaged in fierce competition to secure monopolies of their interests, and cotton textiles played a central role in their ambitions.

We will look at how the company “Factories” established in major trade centres in Surat (Western India) and the Coromandel coast (Eastern India), and worked with local agents to produce painted and printed cotton textiles designed for the home market. We will study the design-sources, dyes and techniques employed in their manufacture, and the rise of new terms such as the word “Chintz”.

Looking at the impact of cotton trade textiles on taste and fashion in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, we will investigate how this fuelled British manufacture for the mass market , making the production of cotton textiles a driving force in the Industrial Revolution.

The online presentations will be illustrated with beautiful images of Chintz textiles from major museum collections, with informative background notes and resources to take away for your personal study.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• The materials and techniques of producing painted and printed cotton textiles in India.
• The development of trade in cotton textiles, and the role played by the European East India Companies.
• The impact of Indian cotton textiles on taste and consumption in the West.
• The influence of East India Company imports on industrialized production in Britain.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Discuss designs and colours in different examples of painted and printed Indian cottons.
• Differentiate between designs produced for different markets.
• List major centres of distribution in India.
• Describe how imported Indian cottons impacted on taste and fashion in 18th century Britain.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety informationas well as basic functions of Zoom, specifically microphone and camera.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download, not printed out for you.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Search our website for 'Friday Lates' to see a range of short courses on a variety of art historical topics.

Anita Chowdry

Anita Chowdry is a London based visual artist, educator and researcher. Her particular interest is in the arts of the Islamic World and South Asia, and the materials and processes that went into them. She has an M.A. in Art and Science from Central Saint Martin’s UAL, and is currently engaged in the codicological study of a group of 15th Century Turcoman manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Anita has over 30 years’ experience teaching art and process to adults and professional groups, covering major institutions in the UK and abroad.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.