George Stimpson

His life and works

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What is poplin?

Poplin was originally applied to a mixed woven fabric consisting of a silk warp and worsted weft and having a corded surface. Such fabric was so called because it was first made during the sixteenth century in the "papal city" of Avignon on the Rhone River in southeastern France. Avignon was the seat of the popes from 1809 to 1877 and continued to be a papal possession until it was taken over by France in 1791. The most important fabric manufactured at Avignon was called by the Italians papalino (feminine papalina), literally [page 41] "papal" or "pertaining to the pope." In French the term became first popaline and then popeline. About 1700 the English shortened it to poplin. In time the term came to be applied to corded fabrics of many varieties used in making women's dresses. Modern poplin is made chiefly in Ireland. A fabric of wool or linen made in imitation of poplin has been called poplinette since about 1860.