The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

A Cacique By Any Other Name

… Or, Etymologies in Translation, from the Caribbean to London A guest post by Valeria López Fadul The word “cacique”—a leader or lord among the people of the Caribbean islands—first appeared in an English book in 1555.1 Richard Eden’s translation of Peter Martyr of Angleria’s The Decades of the Newe World of West India introduced the island of Haiti to English-language readers.… 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

“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.… 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


Idols of the Reformation

Thank you to all who weighed in on this month’s Crocodile Mystery! Many people recognize October 31, 1517 as a major milestone in the beginning of the Protestant Reformation—the date that it is said Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg. To mark that occasion, I thought it would be fitting to have a Reformation-themed Crocodile post!… Continue Reading