The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

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

Welcome to another Crocodile Mystery! This month we ask you to look at the image below and tell us what you think might be going on? What sort of questions does this image generate?

As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with more information.


  • Is it left incomplete to be finished by hand and coloured later ? Possibly the completion could incorporate the owner’s coat of arms ?

  • Whoever did the engraving purposely omitted details – suggestive lines are very exact and perfectly symmetrical both sides (so they knew the whole design and layout – and omitted them). Wonder if it is a suggestive text, character or a nebulous ending or conclusion to the story/poem? Can it be interpreted in more than one way? Does the text mirror reality or is it its own universe? Is the text/poem incomplete (on purpose)? it will be interesting to find out!

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