Fools and jesters were either 'naturals' (physically deformed or legally insane), or 'artificials' (partially deformed with comic abilities or could do acrobatics or contortions and make derogatory jokes). Most were sold by their impoverished families to the service of high-status dignitaries, aristocrats or monarchs who considered them property to be sold off or given away at will.
Despite being regarded as mere chattel, the fool was well cared for in most noble homes, with a place at the family table and being free to participate in discussions where they gained confidences and sometimes even influenced their 'owners'. When Puritan feeling quashed the belief that royalty was divinity on earth, the fashion for fools faded too.
(2006) textiles, embroidery thread, plaster, antique bronze bells: 330 x 330 x 200 mm