Clowns of the World

Clowns of the World is website about the different types of clowns around the world.  Click on the links below to view a description of the various types of clowns and a little bit about their history. For more images of clowns past and present visit

Grotesque: In France between 1800 and 1850, a new image was developing. The French Grotesque began to emerge as a character not only expert in costume and acting, but also as an acrobat. His skills involved horses, rope walking, tumbling and balancing all embellished with comic improvisation. The first Grotesque artist was Jean Gontard, celebrated as the buffoon of Astley's, a famous night spot in Paris. Later, his popularity was overshadowed by the most popular Grotesque of the era, Jean-Batiste Auriol, whose performances were described as "encyclopedic".

Auriol was a juggler, tumbler, rope dancer, and equestrian as well as comedian. Because of his remarkable feats of acrobatics one circus historian credits him with equal importance to the equestrian, then the most important of the circus performers. This idea of clowning and performing acrobatics was a great step towards our modern circus performances. The history of daring men in costume is now our most extravagant colorful touring show under the "Big Top".