Thursday, 3 April 2014

Supreme Court art: true colours

I awake to an email from a stranger: 'I've just seen the fantastic drawings you did on Friday night. Wow! I was wearing the pink eyelashes!' 

This morning it's a welter of charcoal suits - except for that of the solicitor Mark Stephens, in a mysterious blue which sits half-way between Cambridge and Oxford via cobalt.

He is at the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for Landmark Ltd and Woods Development Ltd v American International Bank (in receivership), a case about an unpaid electricity bill which has wafted in from Antigua and Barbuda. The hearing is despatched before lunchtime. 

In the café I choose a blokey microwaved bacon roll even though I know that 'microwave' and 'bacon' don't go together.

The emblematic carpet, designed by Sir Peter Blake, divides opinion. I love it.

In the basement, two women are comparing a fresh carpet sample with the original, which is wilting. Heavy staircase traffic is a problem.


I think of H. Rider Haggard's She, who eroded her private stone steps: "I can remember when those stairs were fresh and level, but for two thousand years and more have I gone down hither day by day, and see, my sandals have worn out the solid rock!'

In Court 2, where the heavy velvet curtains do a moody fandango, I try black paper to counteract the whiter-shade-of-pale walls. It doesn't work.

Hounga v Allen and another asks if a race discrimination claim arising from employment is barred if the employment contract is tainted by illegality. The appellant was an illegal immigrant working as an unpaid servant, having been spirited into the UK by her initial employer.


In this safe-seeming courtroom, the words 'trafficking' and 'slave' can be used without emotion, but counsel are arguing with veiled vehemence while they watch the remorseless clock and, as Lady Hale concludes, 'It is a difficult and an anxious case.'

More pictures if you scroll down.

The colour swatch box at the end is giving me repeated pangs of job envy.

















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