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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.