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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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90 news items

Oregon ArtsWatch

Oregon ArtsWatch
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 07:03:45 -0700

James C. Lawrence delivers that line and the rest of Charlie's drolleries with an easy aplomb. As Pauline, Bonnie Auguston, thin though she is, plays thick (that is, stupid) beautifully, with a light, sweet touch. Alex Fox brings a champagne-dry wit to ...


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.

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:21:29 -0700

With some handsome sets and Wilde's drolleries perfectly projected, this is a peachy Earnest. Who can tire of a play with such lines as 'the general was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life'? Many will wish to see the show chiefly ...
The Guardian
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 00:00:35 -0700

Writer/director Alex Ross Perry's self-consciously wordy third feature (after Impolex and The Color Wheel) is overburdened with such drolleries, so it's a relief when the narrative abandons its verbose antiheroes and turns instead to Moss's silently ...

The Independent

The Independent
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 09:02:48 -0700

Both men also achieved high repute, as you know, for their exquisite drolleries. “I may be drunk,” Winston famously told a reproving Bessie Braddock, “but you are ugly – and I shall be sober in the morning.” “Why don't you fuck off and die,” said Boris ...


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 ...


Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:56:14 -0700

I stopped watching t.v. years ago, but if I need an update on the current drolleries, Jon's my go to. Like · Reply · 6 · Apr 29, 2015 10:00pm. Donna Horton ·. Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. I haven't stopped watching TV, but I stopped watching the news ...

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 ...

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