The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

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:  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? Reader’s 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. I’ll return to this photo later.… Continue Reading

Postcards of the Folger: Richard the Third, Hamlet, First Part Henry the Fovrth

A guest post by Stephen Grant The final three bas-reliefs along the Folger’s north wall are Richard the ThirdHamlet, and Henry the Fourth, Part 1. The images shown here are from the same two sets of postcards that were discussed in the previous two posts. On Dec. 19, 1929, owner Henry Folger, sculptor John Gregory, and architects Paul Philippe Cret and Alexander B.… 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


Postcards of the Folger: Macbeth, Ivlivs Caesar, King Lear

A guest post by Stephen Grant The next three bas-reliefs along the Folger’s north wall are Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and King Lear. The images shown here are from the same two sets of postcards that were discussed in the previous post.     This post will focus on an anecdote related to the third of these bas-reliefs, the one of King Lear. … Continue Reading

Introducing the Folger Reference Image Collection

Sometimes when people contact the Folger to ask questions about items in our collections, the easiest way to provide an answer is to take a quick photo of a particular detail. This has resulted in a growing collection of smartphone images of collections materials. We are now making them available in the Folger Reference Image Collection. These images are shared under the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication License (CC0 1.0), so anyone can copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. … Continue Reading

An Unfinished Title Page Border?

Many thanks for your answers to last week’s post. They convey the puzzling nature of this title page border: Is it an unfinished work? Was it intended to be completed by readers of the book? Does it look different in other copies? To our eyes, indeed, the border design may look incomplete: the figures in the foreground, which we would expect to be highly finished, are either barely ‘legible’, suggested or simply not worked out.… Continue Reading

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

Welcome to another Crocodile Mystery! This month we ask you to look at the image below and tell us what you think might be going on? What sort of questions does this image generate? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week with more information.… Continue Reading