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Whistler's watermarks from the National Gallery of Australia.
The fool, in sundry guises, was known in western Europe from pre-Christian times, and is best known in the role of court jester. The being is best remembered in the role of court jester, but quite modest establishments – including taverns and brothels – flaunted a fool. In these place the role was often filled by a cripple or imbecile given shelter, clothed, fed and kept as a kind of capering house pet. Jesters were highly intelligent, perceptive and quick-witted. They were allowed great licence in their comments on persons and events and were expected to use it..