About this artwork

This grinning man holds a kail stock with a burning candle stuck in the top. This helps identify him as the fool or jester of a Scottish laird, who probably presided over Halloween festivities, such as those described in Robert Burns' poetry. Traditionally, unmarried men and women pulled up kail stocks to confirm the character of their future partner. A candle was then stuck into the end to make a torch. This portrait, painted in 1731, was possibly part of a series depicting Scottish clan members.

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Richard Waitt

Richard Waitt