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Page from a 14th-century Psalter, showing a drollery on the right margin.
Drollery detail from The Rylands Haggadah
For the short comical sketch from the 17th century, see Droll.

Drolleries (or drollery), often called a grotesque, are decorative thumbnail images in the margins of Illuminated manuscripts, most popular from about 1250 through the 15th century, though found earlier and later. The most common types of drollery images appear as mixed creatures, either between different animals, or between animals and human beings, or even between animals and plants or inorganic things. Examples include cocks with human heads, dogs carrying human masks, archers winding out of a fish’s mouth, bird-like dragons with an elephant’s head on the back. Often they have a thematic connection with the subject of the text of the page, and larger miniatures, and they usually form part of a wider scheme of decorated margins, though some are effectively doodles added later.

One manuscript, The Croy Hours, has so many it has become known as The Book of Drolleries.

Another manuscript that contains many drolleries is the Luttrell Psalter, which has hybrid creatures and other monsters on a great deal of the pages.


  • Michelle P. Brown (1994), Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms, ISBN 0-89236-217-0

Media related to Drolleries at Wikimedia Commons

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166 news items


Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:15:00 -0800

In fine form, he tosses a few plates and utters absurd drolleries like “When I was in Vaudeville, once my assistant handed me a porcupine instead of a rabbit.” Finally, we have the wonderfully fluid and visually focused direction of William Dieterle in ...
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 22:56:15 -0800

The drolleries of the day-to-day don't make life any less beautiful -- but they can cause us to fall into some bad habits. For example, many of us fall into the habit of asking people how their day is without actually listening to the answer, and then ...

The Vancouver Observer

The Vancouver Observer
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 20:18:45 -0800

These people have their quirks and drolleries, but Miller cares too much about them to merely play them for gags. They're loosely based on his own relatives. The Toronto woman, he admits, is a sort of composite of his mother and some aunts. The draft ...

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:37:30 -0800

During filming, McTavish delivered his lines not to actual recruits but to the empty air before him. Later, potential Jaguar buyers in seven U.S. cities, starting on Nov. 19 in Los Angeles, will stand before a video camera and emote appropriately to ...
Buffalo News
Fri, 08 Jan 2016 10:56:15 -0800

... an authentic whale of writing for a living telling us that it was Isaiah Berlin for who first told him to write his autobiography, that he once wrote radio gags for Fred Allen under the influence of his father “convulsing us kids with” Shalom ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 07:48:45 -0700

... 1872; Nonsense Drolleries: The Owl & the Pussy-Cat - The Duck & the Kangaroo, illustrations by William Foster, original cloth-backed pictorial glazed boards, 1889; Nonsense Songs and Stories, ninth edition, illustrations by the author, original ...

Daily American Online

Daily American Online
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:52:46 -0700

Photo by Joe IsenmanShade's Dylan Valine, left, and Nick Norris team up to take down Yellow Jacket quarterback Hunter Kinsey in WestPAC play at Ferndale. Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015 10:45 pm. Week 9 high school football previews By ADAM ...


Thu, 13 Aug 2015 09:51:14 -0700

... broadsheets for good causes (especially Notre Dame) and best of all he shared with me his northern sense of humour - which people underestimated or didn't 'hear' - an inexhaustible repertoire of winks, slags, puns, drolleries and double-edged comments.

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