The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Art

Trappings of the stage

Thanks to those who registered your guesses on our most recent Crocodile Mystery. All of the guesses gazed upward, when the answer actually lay underfoot. While these strange designs resemble theatrical lighting effects, they are, in fact, designs for stage trap doors. R.B. [Bayley] was not satisfied with the status quo. Here, we see a dissatisfied theater-worker write to theater impresario and actor Robert William Elliston to argue his perspective.… Continue Reading

Picturing Children’s Food in Early Modern Europe

a guest post by Carla Cevasco While I started my Folger fellowship intending to research children’s foodways in the manuscript recipe book collection, I was surprised by how many hungry, eating, or even eaten children could be found in the Folger’s collections of visual culture. (A big shoutout to Rachel Dankert for pointing out the prevalence of children throughout these collections!)… Continue Reading

Extra-Illustrating Othello

a guest post by Patricia Akhimie On my last visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Fall 2019 (a time that seems all too distant now) to conduct research for a new edition of Othello, I set myself the goal of viewing every image and object related to the play in the Folger’s collection. This was an experience that often rocketed between emotional highs and lows because the Folger’s vast collection includes both art objects that delight and those that disturb.… Continue Reading

The Production of Whiteness in the Anglo-French Match (1625)

A guest post by Mira Assaf Kafantaris Meghan Markle’s incorporation into the British monarchy, and her subsequent departure from it, has thrown into high relief the ideologies of whiteness at the heart of royal European traditions. Even though the symbolism of her nuptials with Prince Harry was touted as the United Kingdom’s ultimate act of reconciliation with its brutal colonial past, Markle’s inclusion in the beau monde of white Britain remained conditional.… Continue Reading

The Pirates of H.M.S. Pinafore

The mystery man in the Crocodile Mystery image is the Englishman W.S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert, the librettist and playwright, in costume as King Claudius. Gilbert, along with composer Arthur Seymour Sullivan, created during the 19th century some of the most beloved and enduring works of comic opera, such as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and Ruddigore.… Continue Reading

New Acquisition: Photographs of an early 20th-century production of Hamlet in Japan

Welcome to a new regular series here on The Collation! Curatorial staff will be writing short pieces focusing on new acquisitions, hopefully giving our readers a glimpse into how we’re building our collections. Today, I’m excited to share a small set of photographs documenting a production of Hamlet that was performed in Japan in 1933. We acquired these photographs from Rose Counsell at Hozuki Books, whose apt description provides the basis for this short post.… Continue Reading

Fortune’s Fools: early tarot cards

As several of you guessed last week, this month’s crocodile mystery showed an early tarot card. When treating a copy of a 1673 edition of Vincent Reboul’s “Le Pelerinage de S. Maximin,” Folger conservators discovered two tarot cards used to reinforce its binding.  I came across these cards, which were given their own call numbers and catalog entry when they were removed, some years ago and snapped this photo.… Continue Reading

Liverpool delft transfer-printed tiles; or, theatrical tiles explain’d

Thank you for all of your guesses on last week’s Crocodile Mystery! As several folks correctly surmised, this image is pigment on ceramic! Specifically, it is on a Liverpool delft transfer-printed tile, seen here in full:  Jane Lessingham as Ophelia, ART 241098 And if you’re completely confused by the phrase “Liverpool delft transfer-printed tile”, well, I don’t blame you. So let’s break it down: “tile” is pretty self-evident.… Continue Reading

Creating John Gregory’s Bas Reliefs at the Folger

Who carved the John Gregory’s bas reliefs on the facade of the Folger? Readers of last week’s Collation post will know that the apparently obvious answer—John Gregory—is incorrect. Sculptor John Gregory (1879–1958) definitely created the works of art, but professional stone cutters chiselled away the marble until it exactly matched the plaster casts of Gregory’s full-size clay models. Carver on site at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 1931.… Continue Reading

Birdbrained

Thanks to everyone who took a guess on this month’s Crocodile Mystery! As several of you pointed out, the teaser image is of some breed of cockatoo or cockatiel. Although I usually know a hawk from a handsaw, I will leave questions about exactly which species or sub-family of Cacatuidae this artistic rendition is meant to represent to experts. The hand-colored print itself is an early- to mid-nineteenth-century lithograph of Act III, sc.… Continue Reading