Skip to main content
The Collation

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: September 2022

What manner o’ thing is this? Useless hint: like Antony’s eponymous crocodile, “It is shaped… like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth.” It does not, however, move “with it own organs.”

Have a guess? Leave a comment and we’ll be back next week with more info.


Hm. Reminds me of the clouds Hamlet and Polonius were gazing on. I see caricatures of two faces, with wide open mouths. Clearly, these two people are being examined by a physician who said “Open wide.” Their tonsils are markedly enlarged.
Other than that, though, I haven’t a clue.

richard M. Waugaman, M.D. — August 30, 2022

Looks like the keyhole plate for a lockbox.

Skip Collins, Folger Docent Class of 2010 — August 30, 2022

Interesting & curious. If we had the dimensions of these two (very worn) objects, that would be a good clue; also the materials used in constructing them. Because they appear to be a (rather unmatched) pair of some sort of device, with entry holes, perhaps for arms or legs, might they be restraining devices, even torture devices? Let’s ask Mister Braveheart: William Wallace! (I wager I’m far afield here, but an amusing exercise.) // MEM

Maureen E. Mulvihill, Princeton Research Forum, NJ. — August 30, 2022

Is it looking at the bottom of two feet being held in place with the screws the bottom square plate/base holding another casting of some kind of figure, or sculptural thing with two legs of some kind? The casting is hollow in the middle, and perhaps could not be cast as one piece with the base as part of the main casting. The only thing I can think of is some sculpture since your collection holds some intriguing 3D works. This kind of foot placement (if they are feet) is very often found as a dynamic way to introduce movement into a standing pose. Not sure I am on the right trail though! Intriguing!

Dawn Kiilani Hoffmann — August 30, 2022

Indeed! It is the bottom of a bronze sculpture, as described by Dawn Kiilani Hoffmann. See the September 6th post Frederick William MacMonnies, Shakespeare, circa 1895 for more.

Erin Blake — September 6, 2022