The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Art

Macbeth and the End of Slavery in the United States

What can Shakespeare say about the original sin of the United States, slavery? As two artists in the Civil War era thought, a lot. Two cartoons in the Folger’s collections, drawn around a decade apart, allude to Shakespeare’s Macbeth to comment on slavery and its place in U.S. society and politics. Through these cartoons we see the sea change that happened within that short span of time.… Continue Reading

Frederick William MacMonnies, Shakespeare, circa 1895

Thanks for the great guesses about the object shown in the September Crocodile Mystery! Dawn Kiilani Hoffmann got it right. The photo shows the bottom of the bronze Shakespeare sculpture at the foot of the stairs from the Reading Room. The bronze base was cast separately from the statue itself, and the photo shows where large screws attach it to Shakespeare’s feet.… Continue Reading

Different versions of a print, or different states?

When I began working on the March 1 Collation post about watchpapers, I saw right away I’d need to make a correction to the catalog record for Mr. Quin in the character of Sr. John Falstaff. Hamnet gave the publisher’s address as the Golden Buck “opposite Felter Lane.” My dissertation involved close study of mid-18th-century London print publishing, so I know there’s no such address.… Continue Reading

Visualizing Shakespeare’s Birds

a guest post by Missy Dunaway Greetings! I was the Folger Shakespeare Library’s artist-in-residence in November of 2021. I dedicated my Folger Institute Fellowship to a painting project entitled Birds of the Bard. This growing collection of paintings will catalog every bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and poems—at least 65 species. My paintings aim to present natural science facts and literary analysis about each species.… Continue Reading

18th-century watchpapers

Thanks for the great guesses about the March 2022 Crocodile Mystery! All were different, all were plausible, and all were incorrect. It would have been easier if I’d included other examples of the same type of print,  because they’re always circular: It also would have been easier if I’d included something for scale, because they’re all between about an inch and a half to two inches in diameter (4 cm to 5 cm).… Continue Reading

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