The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

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

Ack! Nearly December already? Wasn’t it just March? (Isn’t it still March?) Guess that means it’s time for another Crocodile Mystery. Take a look at the image below. It’s not pencil on paper. It’s not oil on canvas. What is it?

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


  • I’m guessing a print on wove paper, possibly 1830ish. Probably not an etching because of the spotty shading, maybe dry point? Looks like a flower seller, with an enormous length and profusion of hair!

  • It’s Mrs Jane Lessingham as Ophelia, 1772, a role she wasn’t especially good in. “Here’s rue for you” is the moment. From a plate after James Roberts in Bell’s 1775 edition of the plays. No idea of the particular medium of this version, though.

  • Ahhh, I should have realized the similarity to some transfer printed plates I have (packed away somewhere) with similar style surrounds, French, by Crane & co I think. this from memory, one of them is a scene from Hamlet. The name Draner springs to mind, but I haven’t looked at them for a while. Date to about 1870.

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