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Lord Justice Williams 'A Rustic Judge'

Cloister (Sir Charles Garden Duff) (1852-1914)


Signed with initials
A letter to the artist is pasted on reverse

Watercolour and bodycolour with pencil

13 ½ x 9 inches

Vanity Fair, 2 March 1899, Judges no 54, 'A Rustic Judge'

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 133

'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 64

At the time of this portrait in Vanity Fair, Sir Roland Lomax Vaughan Williams (1838-1916) was serving as a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal, a post he held from 1897 to 1914.

"Roland Lomax Vaughan Williams, who father was a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, is sixty-one years old, a Westminster boy, a Christ Church man, a Lord Justice of Appeal, a very able fellow, and the most untidy of all Her Majesty's Judges. He lives hard by Earl's Court Station; and being no respecter of persons, it is said of him that he once carried a fender there from chambers under his arm. He is a rustic Judge, who is at home in the country; and even in the Strand, as he walks from the Courts, he is known by his badly-dressed person. But he is as clever as he is slovenly, and he owns a smile that is quite his own. His fault on the Bench is that his head is too big. He is a very strong Judge, but his brain sometimes thinks ahead of the Law; and, thogh he is seldom legally wrong, he is inclined to see farther than his brethren. He has in him, in fact, a streak of genius: and Genius does not always agree with Law. As a Counsel he was so untrammelled by tradition that he never even wagged a finger at the Bench; but he nodded his head until he earned the style of 'The Mandarin'. He has a blinking eye and a ponderous utterance; but he has not enemies: not even among present Westminsters - as they lately showed him when he gave them their athletic prizes. He was a distinct acquisition to the Bench, on which he succeeded Mr Justice Manisty; and, as the Lord Justice that he now is, he is strong, industrious, learned, and above the least suspicion of partiality.

No one could well call him an ornament of the Bench; but he is an exceedingly good Judge."

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