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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

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drolleries — Please support Wikipedia.
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Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:17:16 -0700

But they speak the same elliptical, illogical and absurdly funny language, and their exchanges of non-sequiturs sound more like mating calls than the intellectual drolleries she shares with Jonathan. But what this feeble love triangle has to do with ...
Alton Telegraph
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:15:00 -0700

Print work “Big Fish Eat Little Fish” on view in the Saint Louis Art Museum's exhibit “Beyond Bosch: The Afterlife of a Renaissance Master in Print.” Print details, Pieter van der Heyden (b. Antwerp, c. 1530–d. after March 1572, Berchem) after Pieter ...

Washington Post (blog)

Washington Post (blog)
Wed, 18 Feb 2015 07:24:41 -0800

“As a carefully constructed miniaturized universe, 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is that most Andersonian of endeavors, evincing the deadpan drolleries, screwball action and dollhouse aesthetic that have alternately charmed and chagrined filmgoers for the ...

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:10:18 -0700

It now reaches New York following much further tinkering, with Matthew Morrison returning to Broadway after years of Glee exile to play Barrie, and Kelsey Grammer recruited to dispense drolleries as the Scottish playwright's American theatrical ...

The Times of Israel

The Times of Israel
Sat, 21 Mar 2015 18:24:49 -0700

It was naturalistic, showing emotions in faces and gestures, leaves cascading along the borders of the page, sketches in the margins and grotesques (now called drolleries). The haggadahs on show in Barcelona were collaborative projects between Jewish ...

Scotsman (blog)

Scotsman (blog)
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 06:52:30 -0700

With guitarist Graham Coxon contributing new material for the first time since his messy departure from the band in the late 1990s and regular collaborator Stephen Street back in the producer's chair for the first time since 1997, you could almost ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 01:30:13 -0800

After setting out the terms of an interesting argument, the book becomes a series of magazine-style travelogues, all of them immensely enjoyable, though magazine-style travelogues nonetheless. There are dozens of drolleries and amusing asides – Engel ...
Rhode Island Public Radio
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:43:22 -0700

Beneath his florid, sometimes rambling drolleries, a reader found grand nuggets of wisdom. ``He was interested in just about everything,'' said Jean Plunkett, one of his former editors at the ProJo. ``He treated the janitor the same way he treated the ...

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