An incredible body of images on legal iconography from the Yale Law Library’s rare book collection

Dear all,

I would like to drow your attention on this absolutely amazing collection of images on legal iconography by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian & Lecturer in Legal Research at the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.


All the images come from printed books in the Yale Law Library’s rare book collection. They include over 400 images of Lady Justice, 138 images of legal trees, 132 images of court scenes, and suites of images from illustrated law books such as Ulrich Tengler’s Layenspiegel (1514), the 1508 and 1580 editions of the Bambergensis, Gobler’s Rechtenspiegel (1558), the Coutumes d’Artois (1756), Justinian’s Institutes (1514), and Damhoudere’s Enchiridion Rerum Criminalium (1554).



5 thoughts on “An incredible body of images on legal iconography from the Yale Law Library’s rare book collection

  1. Gabriella Bizzocchi says:

    It is a very beautiful and wide collection! Thank you for sharing it with us. Today I was thinking how I would represent the concept of justice if I had to draw it and i started imagining each detail in my mind coming to a conclusion similar to those portrayed in these images, so I wonder how much our thoughts and ideas are influenced from our surrounding without us even noticing it and how much novelty do we actually put in our creations.


  2. Sarah Penge says:

    I really loved these images! I was thinking about the “Courtroom Sketch” usually used in the U.S, which depicts proceedings in a court of law. This because cameras are not allowed in courtrooms in order to prevent distractions and preserve privacy. My favorite one is Howard Brodie, (who has passed away in 2013) who became famous with his sketches on Charles Manson trial.

    I am going to link some sketches I found on the web from different sketchers! Take a look 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ada Maria COrrado says:

    These pictures are amazing, I could’ve spent the whole afternoon just looking at them! Some of them are really inspiring and suggestive. (On a side note, isn’t it interesting how, more often than not, Judges are made fun of?)
    The gallery made me think about one of my favourite works by Gustav Klimt: “Jurisprudenz”.
    It depicts a condemned man in the company of three goddesses, Truth, Justice and Law, who are punishing him with a deadly embrace.
    I’d love to share it, hopefully the link will work:

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lawadminhumanities says:

    Dear all,
    I am really happy that you liked the images and thank you very much for sharing your ideas. Ada Maria: indeed lawyers are usually represented as corrupted. This is something we should really think about…I would like to share a link on Gustav Klimt’s “Jurisprudenz” as Prof. Desmond Manderson, our guest in 2013, devoted part of his lectures to this amazing masterpiece. You can find some readings on related topics here:


  5. Giulia D'Eusanio says:

    They’re really amazing but they also make me think about an “impoverishment” of legal production. Formerly there was a real strong link between law and culture, which maybe sometimes made law closer to people. Now the only manner in which “law” is near people, in a similar way, is maybe the satire, sometimes films or stories, but always less then before, it seems to be “colder” then before. Anyway we’re lucky, I think, to still have them to admire.


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