Creating the world's 'fooleum' - a global museum dedicated to 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 Fooleum will share images from a growing virtual museum, with a view to exploring the ways in which fools were captured in paintings, etchings, wood-cuts, carvings and figurines. 

And we welcome offers from outrageously rich and imaginative patrons to fund the Fooleum of the real world.  I’ll find the Palladian palazzo, you just need to sign the cheques. 

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 have been 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 Fooleum 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


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


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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




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