Statues - Hither & Thither

Great Britain
Stratford-upon-Avon
Warwickshire

West Midlands

Henley Street

The Jester

Touchstone, the Jester from Shakespeare's play As you like it
James Walter Butler
1994

Stratford-upon-Avon /  The Jester   Stratford-upon-Avon /  The Jester

Description

Sculpture of a jester in active stance. He holds a poll (a small head on a stick) with the mask of comedy balanced on his left, upraised hand. His right hand is behind his back concealing a poll with a mask of tragedy.

Stratford-upon-Avon - The Jester

Inscription(s)

FOOLERY, SIR, DOES WALK
ABOUT THE ORB LIKE THE SUN;
IT SHINES EVERYWHERE
(twelfth night)

O NOBLE FOOL! A WORTHY FOOL!
(as you like it)

ALAS! POOR YORICK
I KNEW HIM, HORATIO;
A FELLOW OF INFINITE JEST.
(hamlet)

THE FOOL DOTH THINK HE IS WISE,
BUT THE WISE MAN KNOWS
HIMSELF TO BE A FOOL.
(as you like it)

THE JESTER

by james butler r.a.

unveiled by the lord lieutenant
of warwickshire
the rt. hon. the viscount daventry
on 22nd july 1994

a gift from anthony p. bird o.b.e.
to stratford upon avon as a token of
his esteem for the town in which he
was born, lives and works and which
has given him so much friendship,
good fortune and pleasure.

Signature

james butler r.a. 1992

Annotation

James Butter has explained his choice of the Jester as a subject: 'The character of the Fool or Jester appears in many Shakespeare plays and I decided to portray him dancing- almost leaping off his plinth. He is holding two polls. One is smiling , one is grim. They represent the symbols of drama.' Butler sees the Jester as symbolising the precarious balance of life: 'my point being that we dance through life finely balancing optimism above us, but tragedy lurks behind'. The model for the Jester was the international mime artist John Mowat who danced and struck various poses to inspire Butler's final form.

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location N 52°11'39" W 1°42'32"

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Item Code: gbwm088; Photograph: 25 June 2014
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