Category Archives: Fools

A comic dance

One of the highlights in the career of the actor and pantomimist Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) was his performance in Harlequin and Mother Goose, or, The Golden Egg. The DNB notices how ‘fashionable and influential people, including Byron and Lord Eldon, … Continue reading

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A contemporary printmaker

Douce befriended some of the most celebrated artists of his time and his collections were widely used by them. When Grayson Perry visited the Ashmolean Print Room a few weeks ago, it was great fun to select some of Douce’s … Continue reading

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Grinding fools

Many of Douce’s prints of fools are emblems from Dutch and German books, like the etching below: The scene is set in a watermill, where an elegantly dressed man is startled at the sight of batches of little fools being … Continue reading

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We are five

I have just started cataloguing Douce’s prints of fools -the engraving below belongs to the popular type depicting a group of foolish figures that numbers one fewer than the title, so that the viewer makes up the total: On the … Continue reading

Posted in Antiquaries, Collections and Collectors, Engravings, Fools, Networks, Paintings, Popular prints, Prints, Satirical prints | Comments Off on We are five

Courtships and Love Affairs

After going through Douce’s folder labelled ‘Courtships & Love Affairs’, I think it is fair to say that he was not much of a romantic. His selection of images of romance includes this depiction of a gloomy ‘man in love’ … Continue reading

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Knavery stalks through the land

Douce’s interest in images of fools and jesters was not limited to his research for the ‘Dissertation on the Clowns and Fools of Shakspeare’, published as part of his Illustrations of Shakespeare and of ancient manners (London, 1807). Plates like … Continue reading

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