The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Art

Mezzotint!

Simran Thadani’s wild guess for the December Crocodile Mystery, backed up by Martin Antonetti and Deborah J. Leslie, is our winner. This month’s image is a close-up of the lower right edge of a mezzotint engraving. The lines that look like warp and weft are, in fact, rows of tiny black dots crossing each other at right angles. This happens to be a fairly coarse mezzotint, with the grain easily visible to the naked eye.… Continue Reading

Dalí as you like him

The change of pace in this month’s crocodile mystery is thanks to Salvador Dalí. Surely you, like our commenters, recognized those elongated legs. And if I’d shared the companion image, you’d have guessed that immediately as well. But what’s he doing in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s collections? Sharing his designs for As You Like It, obviously!… Continue Reading

A carousel of tragedy

We are used to thinking of productions of Shakespeare’s plays as creating new works of art that demonstrate the vitality of the centuries-old drama. But in the right hands, books can achieve the same effect. Emily Martin’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, published by Naughty Dog Press in 2012 and acquired by the Folger last year (ART Vol.… Continue Reading

Free cultural works! Come get your free cultural works!

It’s official: pictures in the Folger’s Digital Image Collection are now licensed CC BY-SA! That is, they can be used under a Creative Commons Attribution–ShareAlike 4.0 International License, one of the two Creative Commons licenses “approved for free cultural works.” That’s almost 80,000 images, and counting. We’ve already started adding images to Wikimedia Commons for use in Wikipedia and elsewhere, and encourage you to do the same.… Continue Reading

An argent lion rampant: coats of arms in 17th-c. books

In recent months, the Folger Shakespeare Library added a rare emblem book to its holdings, a thin quarto bound in pasteboards holding 24 unnumbered leaves . The emblem book presents itself as a “new year’s gift” containing 13 engravings: one coat of arms and twelve emblems executed by the prolific engraver Frederik Bouttats. The author of the text is a Jesuit who remains anonymous.… Continue Reading

Four states of Shakespeare: the Droeshout portrait

So the mysterious eye of this month’s crocodile belongs to no other than Shakespeare, as some readers immediately recognized: More specifically, it is Shakespeare’s left right eye as depicted in the third state of the Droeshout engraving from one of the Folger’s copies of the First Folio. If you’re wondering why I chose his eye as the June crocodile, that previous sentence is key: the portrait of Shakespeare engraved by Martin Droeshout for the First Folio exists in 4 different states, 3 of which can be seen in copies of the First Folio (the fourth state wasn’t introduced until the Fourth Folio in 1685).… Continue Reading

Timon of Athens: nine not-actually-lost drawings by Wyndham Lewis

In 1998, modernist art and literature scholar Paul Edwards wrote about “a set of watercolours and (apparently) ink drawings on the theme of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens” by Wyndham Lewis that had been published as a portfolio in 1913. Why only “apparently” in ink? Until Professor Edwards came across the nine drawings in the Folger’s digital image collection, art historians thought the drawings had been lost.… Continue Reading

V, u/v, and library transcription rules

You know the saying, “the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from?” You know Sarah’s post about the transcription practices used in The Collation, and Goran’s posts about V and U in titles and imprints of 17th-century Flemish books in the STCV? Welcome to the Anglo-American cataloging rules for transcription in early modern texts, which differ from both.… Continue Reading

A print pricked for transfer

So, what’s up with the crocodile mystery for March? As I said in the comments, Tom Reedy was verrrrry close with “It looks like some sort of device using punctures along a line to allow powder or ink to pass through and transfer the outline of a drawing to another surface.” It isn’t itself such a device. Rather, it is evidence of such a device having been made.… Continue Reading

Acquiring and adopting books

Each year around this time, the Folger hosts Acquisitions Night benefiting the Library’s Acquisitions program. Showcasing some of the most interesting, beautiful, and rare items we’ve purchased for the collection in the past year, the event invites donors to “adopt” selected items by reimbursing the Library their purchase prices. The money made through adoptions is put back into the Acquisitions budget and used to purchase more rare materials for the remainder of the fiscal year.… Continue Reading