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Lord Chancellor's Robing Room, 1822-29 (11)

Historical Note:-
The Lord Chancellor was the senior judge over the Court of Chancery, and as such had accommodation directly adjoining that Court room (see the relevant note for the latter Court).

Design Note:-
There are no surviving drawings which specifically record the evolution of this room’s design in terms of elevations. However, the implication that it would take the form of a top-lit tripartite space with projecting piers rising into arches can be deduced from general plans of the site (discussed above). This remains almost constant throughout the minor revisions to this part of the Law Courts site. Located between the Court of Chancery and a corridor leading from the designated Chancery entrance on St Margaret’s Street, it appears that it was always intended to serve as the most elaborately-realised ancillary rooms. Its length, and the incorporation of a room for the Lord Chancellor’s attendants to the west, was a logical response to the rhythm dictated by the buttresses of Westminster Hall. From the outset, the design was clearly intended to reflect the status of the Lord Chancellor, and in architectural terms the room stands as an adjunct to the adjacent Court of Chancery.

Given its enclosed position, lighting was provided by means of lantern lights over the domed compartments (SM 53/2/60; 53/4/79). The earliest section (SM 53/2/60) dates from before 18 October 1822, and construction was underway from summer - autumn 1823. The highly worked up record of the design as realised (SM 53/2/59) demonstrating how little the design was altered or revised during execution. The vertical emphasis of a high panelled dado (here expressed in paraphrase of rusticated bands) rising to plain surfaces, with ornament concentrated upon ceilings and around lantern lights, reflects the same treatment which unified the interiors of the Courts themselves.

There are few specific references in the Day Books to the surviving drawings, and as such the direct association with the latter to specific hands is difficult. It is plausible that the concise entries may frequently conflate the Lord Chancellor’s Room with the Court of Chancery, though one exception is the record of Arthur Mee specifically working on a plan and section of the former on 30 November 1822.
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