The Jester in Stratford-upon-Avon was commissioned by Tony Bird OBE and gifted to the town in 1994.
The original idea for the project was to have the Seven Ages on Man with the Jester standing in the middle (as seen in the model) However, a Jester leaping off the plinth was decided as the final design.
James can be seen standing in his studio, next to the clay figure
An amusing story circulated soon after the plinth was built. It was yet to receive the bronze eight foot statue. A woman, looking at the plinth, was overheard saying ‘I don’t think it looks anything like a Jester!’
The polls showing comedy and tragedy should have small bells attached to the collars, but souvenir hunters take them as soon as they are replaced.
"The character of the Fool or Jester appears in many Shakespeare plays and I decided to portray him dancing- almost leaping off his plinth. He is holding two polls. One is smiling , one is grim. They represent the symbols of drama.’
I see the Jester as symbolising the precarious balance of life: 'my point being that we dance through life finely balancing optimism above us, but tragedy lurks behind".