Sunday, 20 June 2010

Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey EC4

These voluptuous beauties adorn the roofline pediments of Mountford's masterpiece. They were also carved by Frederick Pomeroy, but apparently they are not identified in the drawings. The figure on the north pediment (above) holds a sword in her right hand and a book in her left, open at pages marked VI and VIII. There does not appear to be any writing on the pages, but if the numbers are Commandments they would prohibit murder and stealing respectively, which would seem appropriate. But why isn't the IX Commandment included? There has been a formidable amount of bearing false witness in the Old Bailey over the last century. Coveting (the X Commandment) was not illegal in 1906 but in today's frenzy to ban everything it probably is now. Of course, if you exchanged covetous remarks with a friend in the pub, that would be conspiracy, a serious felony.
The figure on the south pediment (below) has a couple of closed ledgers and a quill pen. Presumably these are everyone's criminal records, closed and unalterable for final consulation at the Day of Judgement.

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