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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "French Late Renaissance Carved Walnut Court Jesters Double Headed ‘Marotte’ or club"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
‘Marotte’ or club
One side depicting the capped head of a clever and devilish jester, the other the head of an innocent boy fool
Fine old brown smooth patina – some old damage to one side of the boy’s head now with aged patina from wear and use
Circa 1620 – 40
Size: 84cm long – 33 ins long
An early 17th century oil painting entitled ‘wee three loggerheads’ hanging in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust of Stratford upon Avon, depicts two fools, one of whom holds a very similar wooden marotte. It is thought that the painting represents Tom Derry, fool to Anne of Denmark, and Muckle John, fool to Charles I.
There has always existed confusion between clever and innocent fools on the one hand and between ‘idiots’ and wise naturals on the other. In many illuminated manuscripts the fool is frequently shown as an innocent boy, questioning doctrine or as a clever jester of the devil.
An Italian renaissance fool is depicted (Bodleian Library. Oxford ms douce 272 f43) holding a large club wearing a belled hood and contemplating two dogs. Another French Psalter of the early 14th century (Bodleian Library. Oxford ms douce 211f 258v) depicts a frantic fool with his marotte.
The jester/fool is a representative figure of humanity fought over alternately by good and evil characters as can be seen in this rare janus headed marotte.