Creating the world's greatest visual gallery of fools and jesters

Jesters were often highly visible whether through a distinctive physique, comportment, costume, or some combination of these.  This has perhaps contributed to a wealth of visual representations of them and the pool from which they often emerged, including dwarfs, musicians, entertainers and actors.  

The Gallery will share images from a growing virtual fooleum, with a view to exploring – and enjoying – the ways in which fools were captured in paintings, etchings, wood-cuts, carvings and figurines.

Aims and approaches

We aim to feature as global and engaging a range of images as possible, together with references to related literature, in order to enrich our understanding of how jesters were perceived and portrayed.  Once we have some critical mass, we will make this a searchable resource, as well as a feast for the eyes and mind.

As we adore alliteration (and top marks), we employ a triple-A formula:

Ambitious – does it contribute to making this the world’s most comprehensive visual array of fools and their like?  We actively seek diversity across time, space and medium.  

Available – does it exist?  For example, a European fool-fad lasting centuries led to miles of materials, whereas in China visual depictions are thinner on the ground.  This means the Gallery will likely have a stronger European flavour and fewer Chinese examples than we’d like. 

Accessible – is it digitally and otherwise accessible?  We begin with images in the public domain, or generously released for research or educational purposes.  Luckily, many great museums are in full-throttle digitisation mode (applause, applause).

In sum, there is no better time to be alive if you are developing a world-spanning repository of fooldom on a shoestring.  And by the time we’ve featured the affordable images, sponsors will be queueing up to lavish their largesse on other acquisitions.


Latest additions … served up as they emerge


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

To buy the book, click one of the big bright buttons below, or the cover image. 

(And thank you, it helps!)

Blackwell’s online

Book cover - Beatrice Otto - Fools Are Everywhere - University of Chicago Press

Love   Enjoy our sister sites:    I


Design & content copyright: Beatrice Otto 2021 all rights reserved   I   header & related jester illustrations by

Colours and fonts were chosen for aesthetic strength and because their names reflect the mission of Fonts: Quipley I Lustria I Wild Pen. Colours include: Jester Yellow by Faeriepuffs I New Laughter by Ilara ... you get the picture




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This