Time Travellin’ to the Renaissance

I attend the St. Louis Renaissance Festival every year. Over the years I’ve been working on putting together a jester outfit. A colleague asked me if there were jesters in Renaissance Europe — he thought they were more medieval.

A little research suggests they ended in England in the 16th century, but were existent in France up to the French Revolution (late 18th). The Wentzville Faire is set in France, under the reign of Francis I, early 16th century. He ushered in the Renaissance for France, and his court Jester was perhaps one of the more famous court jesters — at least in literature. Triboulet, star of Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’Amuse (The King’s Diversion), and Verdi’s remake into an opera – Rigoletto.

Hugo took liberties with the real individual, but here’s a few illustrations for his character:


What isn’t clear from the illustrations is he’s a hunchback. Hugo liked characters with that deformity apparently. Not sure if I’ll work that into my costume, but I already have the beard.