This text was copied from Wikipedia on 10 June 2024 at 6:10AM.

Camlet, also commonly known as camlot, camblet, or chamlet, is a woven fabric that might have originally been made of camel or goat's hair, later chiefly of goat's hair and silk, or of wool and cotton.[1] The original form of this cloth was very valuable; the term later came to be applied to imitations of the original eastern fabric.[2]

The suit, dated to 1647 and which belonged to the Charles X Gustav of Sweden is made from wool camlet.[3]

In the 18th century, England, France, Holland, and Flanders were the chief places of its manufacture; Brussels exceeded them all in the beauty and quality of its camlets, followed by England.[4]

A variety of terms have been used for camlet in different forms:

  • Figured camlets are of one color, on which are stamped various figures, flowers, foliages, etc. The figures were applied with hot irons, passed together with the fabric, under a press. In the 18th century, these were chiefly brought from Amiens and Flanders. In antiquity, figured camlets were sought more than in modern times.
  • Water camlets, after weaving, received a certain preparation with water; and were afterwards passed under a hot press, giving them a smoothness and lustre.[4]
  • Moreen a thick woolen stuff used in upholstery. It is a variety of watered camlet.[5][6][7]
  • Waved camlets feature impressed waves, as on tabbies.[4]

Manufacturers of camlets had to take care not to introduce any unnecessary pleats in the fabric, as they were almost impossible to undo. This difficulty was so notorious, that a proverb existed, stating that someone "is like a camlet—he has taken his pleat."[4]


The origin of the term is uncertain. While certain authors reference camlets as originally being made of camel hair, others believe it is from the Arabic seil el kemel, the Angora goat.[2] According to Chambers's Encyclopaedia, it comes from Arabic chamal, meaning fine.[8]

French scholar Gilles Ménage determined that "camlet" was derived from zambelot, a Levantine term for stuffs made with the fine hair of a Turkish goat, probably the Angora goat, from which comes the term Turkish camelot. Bochart claimed zambelot was a corruption from Arabic. Others called it capellote, from capelle, she-goat. Still others have sourced camelot from the bare Latin camelus, so that camelot should properly signify a fabric made of camel hair.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. 1913.
  2. ^ a b "Camlet". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd edition. 1989.
  3. ^ Mathiassen, Tove Engelhardt; Nosch, Marie-Louise; Ringgaard, Maj; Toftegaard, Kirsten (2014-05-30). Fashionable Encounters: Perspectives and trends in textile and dress in the Early Modern Nordic World. Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-78297-383-6.
  4. ^ a b c d e Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "Camelot, or Camlet". Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1st ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
  5. ^ Lebeau, Caroline (1994). Fabrics : the decorative art of textiles. Internet Archive. London : Thames and Hudson. pp. 204, 205. ISBN 978-0-500-01631-2.
  6. ^ Treasury, United States Department of the (1892). Treasury Decisions Under Customs and Other Laws. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 599.
  7. ^ Dooley, William Henry (1914). Textiles For Commercial, Industrial and Domestic Arts Schools; Also Adapted to Those Engaged in Wholesale and Retail Dry Goods, Wool, Cotton and Dressmaker's Trades. Library of Alexandria. ISBN 978-1-4655-4393-6.
  8. ^ Chambers's encyclopaedia: a dictionary of universal knowledge, Volume 1. J.B. Lippincott & Co. 1888. p. 263.

1893 text

Camlet was a mixed stuff of wool and silk. It was very expensive, and later Pepys gave 24l. for a suit. (See June 1st, 1664.)

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

CAMICA, Camlet, or fine Stuff, made of Camels Hair and Silk.

CAMLET, A kind of stuff made with Wool and Silk
---An Universal Etymological Dictionary. 1675

CAMBLET, or Camlet, a plain stuff, composed of a warp and woof, which is manufactured on a loom, with two treddles, as linens are.

There are camblets of several sorts, some of goats hair, both in the warp and woof; others, in which the warp is of hair, and the woof half hair and half silk; others again, in which both the warp and the woof are of wool; and lastly, some, of which the warp is of wool and the woof of thread. Some are dyed in the thread, others are dyed in the piece, others are marked or mixed; some are striped, some waved or watered, and some figured.

Camblets are proper for several uses, according to their different kinds and qualities: some serve to make garments both for men and women; some for bed curtains; others for houshold furniture, &c.
---The complete dictionary of arts and sciences. T.H. Crocker, 1764.

Bill  •  Link

CAMBLET, or CHAMLET, a stuff sometimes of wool, sometimes silk, and sometimes hair, especially that of goats with wool or silk: in others the warp is silk and wool twisted together, and the woof hair. ... England, France, Holland, and Flanders are the chief places of this manufacture; Bruxels exceeds them all in the beauty and quality of its camblets: those of England are reputed the second.
---Cyclopaedia, Or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. E. Chambers, 1743.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.


Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.