chintz + cheetah

Rose Cumming (1887-1968) was a Sydney-born textile designer and interior decorator who made her career in New York. Stranded there (while en route to Paris) in 1917 because of transport issues related to WWI, by 1921 Rose had a decorating business alongside a shop that sold antiques and fabrics. She designed and printed her own textiles, and was a particular fan of chintz. Her flamboyance and avant garde ideas attracted celebrity clients, including Marlene Dietrich. She famously hated lamps, instead using black candles to light her rooms at home …but was also the first person to leave her shop lights on overnight to attract customers.

Chintz is a printed cotton cloth; the word comes from Hindi, chint, from Sanskrit,
chitra-s, ‘bright, clear, many-coloured, distinctively marked’. The word cheetah has the same origin: from Hindi chita, ‘leopard’, which is from Sanskrit chitraka, ‘hunting leopard, tiger’ (chitra-s, ‘bright, distinctively marked’ + kayah, ‘body’).

Rose’s story (and talent) continues with her great-niece, Sarah Cumming Cecil, the president and principal designer at Rose Cumming, now based in Portland, Maine.

 

Featured Image: sabu pink rose leopard print by Rose Cumming

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