Fiddle i fee, a fool’s head me!

This glorious faience decorative violin (c. 1705-10) features a jester’s head in lieu of the normal violin scroll, complete with a mischievous grin and a scrunched up cap and bells, as if he just got out of bed and rammed it on his head without so much as a glance in the mirror.

It seems to have been made in a playful mode even if it can’t be played. Held in the Rijksmuseum, we are told that when:

… the collector John Loudon purchased it for a record 1500 guilders in 1876, (it) was considered to be the absolute masterpiece of Delft earthenware.

References: Maurice Mauris, ‘The Faïence Violins’, The Art Amateur 1:3 (1879), pp. 60-61.

Credit: Rijksmuseum, Gift of the heirs of J.F. Loudon, The Hague, public domain

Object - decorative faience violin with jester's head - Rijksmuseum - public domain

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