The new Supreme Court encourages visitors to the Court. Those who visit come away with a variety of impressions of the highest court in the land. In this guest post, artist Isobel Williams reflects on her latest visit to the Court.

Izzy 1Today’s case is about finding the right address. Talking of which, cabbies tend not to know where the Supreme Court is – the building was Middlesex Guildhall when most of them did the knowledge. This morning I’m offered the House of Lords.

Abela and others v Baadarani concerns the service of a claim form – but, to quote my favourite Rodgers and Hart song, Where or When?

Izzy 2There have been livelier sessions. Counsel are yomping through treacle. In the public seats, some people resort to furtive (forbidden) mobile phone action. To ward off a rumbling stomach, the man next to me eats an inch of cereal bar.

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How long is too long? What is ‘good’ in the sense of ‘in good time’?  There’s never enough time in court to draw. I’m absorbed like a child. Sometimes I feel a bit swoony. I think I’m forgetting to breathe.

I’m playing with a new double-edged Kuretake pen, a point one end, a brush the other (all too easy to draw on your clothes with these twin-end jobs). Does time pass more quickly for me than for anyone else in court?

Lunch in the basement café is a prawn mayonnaise sandwich and, at 79p, the most expensive Wispa I’ve ever eaten.


‘The Last Supper’ by Barocci

Izzy 4The courtroom layout carves the personnel into four slices: public; legal teams; judges; court staff and judicial assistants. I try to represent the different strata in this picture (below) as transparencies or ectoplasm.

I think of  Barocci’s The Last Supper (left; on loan to the National Gallery until 19 May) where the four strata are servants, disciples (outer layer), top tier at the table, angels.

Yesterday, Lord Justice Hughes and Lord Justice Toulson were sworn in. Their families watched the ceremony from the public seats. I watched on Sky. To end the formalities, Lord Neuberger said he hoped that the conduct of the new justices would be as exemplary as that of their grandchildren.

Towards the end of today’s proceedings, a family comes in to watch. The little girl is a dead ringer for John Everett Millais’s daughter Effie, his model for My First Sermon and My Second Sermon (both below).

Izzy 6Time is running out. I pass a note to her parents: may I draw her? I’m hoping for a second-sermon pose, but the eyes of a child point to a truth: it’s never boring here if you know where to look.

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More pictures if you scroll down.

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Looking out of the window