Object Detail

Oak roundel, part of a series of carvings that decorated the ceiling of the King's Presence Chamber at Stirling Castle. Dressed in his distinctive outfit and sprouting hat adorned with bells and donkey’s ears, this carving of the jester is one of the most recognisable figures of James V and Mary of Guise’s court. The king and queen each had their own jester. As well as entertaining and acting as a confidant to the monarch, the jester had a political role to remind those at court of their responsibilities. The Stirling Heads are constructed of 3 panels, originally only secured by glue. The great majority of the Heads, however, are in part constructed in 2 ply, an additional board or block having been placed over the middle board to enable the carver to model the central portion of the medallion in high relief. Nail holes are apparent in the borders which indicate the way in which the Heads were fixed to the ceiling.
Collection Type
Date Made
Circa 1540
dia 685.8mm (dia 2' 3")
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Object Type



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