The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’thing is your crocodile?”: July 2020

Welcome back for another Crocodile Mystery! As you enjoy this first week of July (really? really? Who said the calendar could do that?), spare some thoughts for this mystery image. What’s going on in this image? What are those letters and what might be missing from this image? 

As always, if you’re so inclined, leave your guesses here in the comments and we’ll be back next week with more information!

One Comment


  • It’s a “tricked” coat of arms, a convenient shorthand for representing a coat of arms in monochrome. The letters are abbreviations for the names of colors. In the Anglophone world they are usually the first letters of the heraldic tinctures as used in the stylized, French-derived language of Blazon. So here we have o for Or (gold), g for Gules (red), and B for azure (blue) to avoid confusion with a for Argent (silver). There are other systems of abbreviation eg using the first letter of the Latin names for the colors.
    When tricking a coat of arms sometimes only the first instance of a repeated charge is drawn, and the other occurrences denoted by 2,3, etc


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