Law, Annapolis Themes Grace Law Library Walls

Donated Prints Give Courthouse Visitors Something Other Than Lawbooks To Look At

July 05, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

For years, most of the wall space in the Anne Arundel County Courthouse library that wasn't behind bookcases was bare and white.

But the walls have been spruced up recently with law prints and art of the state's capital city, giving patrons of the small public library something decorative to look at.

Most recently, Judge Michael E. Loney donated a series of 19th-century French law prints from his chambers. They had been given to him by H. Chester Goudy, a retired Circuit Court judge and his former law partner.

Loney, who will retire this month, also expects to give the courthouse artwork of Annapolis from his chambers, if it doesn't first land on the walls of other judges.

The art is also likely to grace the law library walls, where themes of law and Annapolis are appropriate, said court administrator Robert G. Wallace.

The six prints Loney already gave to the courthouse for the library are by the French artist Honore Daumier, who satirized the law, government and the bourgeoisie. The black-and-white prints depict animated courtroom scenes, including one, "Such a Devoted Husband," that shows a sour-faced man.

"I think they are kind of unique and distinctive," Loney said in a recent interview.

Judges typically display personal items in their chambers. But the rest of the courthouse is not filled with art - a scene of a Delaware courthouse that was saved from going to a dump hangs in the administrator's offices - and most conference rooms are bare-walled.

A couple of prints from the chambers of two long-retired judges hang in the law library, as do two photos taken in Annapolis by the famed late photographer Marion Warren. Other items are mostly of local and courthouse history.

The law library is not flush enough to buy art, making donations particularly appreciated, said law librarian Joan M. Bellistri.

"There is no budget for that, especially now," she said.

T. Joseph Touhey donated Vanity Fair legal prints in memory of George S. Lantzas, a trial lawyer, a little more than a year after his law partner of 23 years died in 2006. They hang in the library's conference room, making them far less prominent than the photos of retired judges that line the courthouse's entrance. Touhey said he wanted recognition for his partner and to acknowledge trial attorneys in a building where they work.

"There is not another room where you have pictures of dead trial lawyers. There were pictures down there of all these dead judges and not one of trial lawyers," he said.

From the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Vanity Fair prints depict men in white wigs, barristers wearing long coats and judges clad in their robes.

"That's the best collection of Vanity Fair prints in the state, I'll tell you that," Touhey said.

Touhey's collection hung for years in his Glen Burnie office, but he retired them, when Lantzas joined the practice, in favor of ducks and geese.

The men enjoyed hunting and fishing, often together.

Since the installation of the originals, Touhey cut apart a book of Vanity Fair prints to frame them; those hang in the main part of the law library, many near the entrance.

"It's just a matter of time before I make it the Lantzas library," he said.

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