from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Artificial and ornamental rockwork in imitation of a grotto.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The arrangement and decoration of an artificial grotto; grotto-like structure.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • This mode of diapering walls with arabesques and stuccoing the vaults with grotto-work, was invented in Damascus, but highly improved by the Moors in Morocco, to whom Saracenic architecture owes its most graceful and fanciful details.

    The Alhambra

  • At its northern side, sloping towards the wall, was visible what looked like an ordinary terrace, rather low, and ornamented with small shrubs and grotto-work; but which, on nearer approach, proved to be a veritable village in miniature, constructed with a verisimilitude of design, and a fidelity to detail, which was at once in the highest degree amazing and amusing.

    The Aldine, Vol. 5, No. 1., January, 1872 A Typographic Art Journal

  • Beneath lies a garden of vines and rose-trees, which I visited, and found a spring under a rustic arch of grotto-work, fringed round with ivy.

    Dreams Waking Thoughts and Incidents

  • Beyond this loveliness are flower-plots surrounding tiny shrines; and marvellous grotto-work, full of monsters -- dragons and mythologic beings chiselled in the rock; and miniature landscape work with tiny groves of dwarf trees, and Lilliputian lakes, and microscopic brooks and bridges and cascades.

    Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan First Series

  • But no! -- this grotto-work is not for the dead; and these are not haka, as I imagined, but only images of the Goddess of Mercy.

    Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan First Series

  • In one of the gardens, moreover, the ingenious inhabitant had spent his leisure in building grotto-work, of which the English are rather ludicrously fond, on their little bits of lawn, and in building a miniature castle of oyster-shells, where were seen turrets, ramparts, a frowning arched gateway, and miniature cannon looking from the embrasures.

    Doctor Grimshawe's Secret — a Romance


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