A staple of grandmillennial design, Bowood by Colefax and Fowler is hands down my favorite fabric. I like that it’s feminine, but relatively simple. It’s a great chintz for people who don’t like chintz. It’s also very versatile. Bowood looks equally pretty in relaxed and formal rooms. It also effortlessly transitions across decorating styles.
Bowood is as historic as it is iconic. It has been in production by Colefax and Fowler since the 1930’s. However, it’s origins date earlier. The story goes that John Fowler discovered a scrap of Bowood fabric inside a house built circa 1780. The house, aptly called Bowood House, is located in Wiltshire, England and is still standing today. The print being produced by Colefax and Fowler is John Fowler’s interpretation of the pattern on that scrap of fabric.
Below is a photo of the Bowood House. Can you believe how beautiful it is?
The house was originally commissioned by the 1st Marquess of Landsdowne, William Petty, in 1762. The original cost was “30 guineas.” Guineas are no longer in use, so estimating what that would be worth in today’s dollars with inflation and such is difficult. And trust me, I tried. However, if we were to pay 30 guineas for a house today, we would be paying about $14,000 with current gold prices.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the Bowood House, House & Garden has a lovely article here.
Examples in Design
Bowood is a versatile print. It looks right at home in a range of design styles.
Even fashion designer Tory Burch is a fan of Bowood. Here it is on the sofas in her Southampton home.
While they grey/green colorway shown above is my favorite, Bowood can be found in a few colors. Below is a wonderful example by Mark D. Sikes.
Beautiful and historic, what isn’t there to love about this iconic fabric?
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