The Law Society, 100–113 Chancery Lane, London WC2

From: Historic England entry:

“Law Society headquarters. Original building of 1831 by Lewis Vulliamy with remarkable north-east corner extension of 1902-4 by Charles Holden when an assistant of Percy Adams. Portland stone, slate roof. The Vulliamy building with dignified, crisply executed and correct Grecian detailing. Two storeys on granite basement. Nine windows wide. Central doorway in base of Ionic pedimented portico of four unfluted columns in antis. Recessed sash windows in shallow moulded architraves, those on first floor rising from sill band and with sharply profiled cornices. Full crowning entablature carried over from portico. Cast iron area railings. Stucco, three-storey, twenty-bay rear elevations to Bell Yard, with three-bay return to Carey Street, a more confused design with ground-floor channelled and set with piers, pilasters and columns. Cornice and balustraded parpapet. Interior with wide entrance hall, double-height reading room with red marble giant columns and pilasters particularly impressive.

Holden’s extension forms a corner pavilion with Carey Street. Portland stone, slate roof. Cornice heights read through from Vuillamy’s building, but Holden shows remarkable freedom and originality in combining neo-classical composition with Mannerist details and cubic mass. Two main storeys and high blind attic with set-back blind attic over centre. Both facades have a principal bay with lower, narrow flanking bays of three storeys and a three-bay wing along Carey Street of two storeys, set-back storey, and dormered mansard. Channelled ground-floor with central modified Diocletian window, incorporating figure sculpture by C Pibworth, and first floor with idiosyncratically designed Venetian window; markedly narrow flanking windows plainly neo-classical surmounted by oculi to ground floor, Michaelangelesque in their framing to first and second floors. The main central bays rise above their flanks to bold dentil cornice and tall attic returned to re-entrant angle above which rises topmost central blind attic storey with pilaster-piers and blocking course over plain cornice. The wing has tall narrow architraved and corniced first floor windows. Holden’s interiors are in contrast revelatory of his Arts and Crafts tendency, with low staircase in tunnel-like vault with stained glass windows leading to first-floor reception room with oak and mahogany panelling and marble finishes. Wood carving by William Aumonier and moulded friezes by Conrad Dressler. The ground-floor reception rooms of similar quality. The south end of the Law Society building is within the City of London.”


“Mannerism is the name given to the style followers of Raphael and Michelangelo from around 1520–1600. Mannerist artists were influenced by, but also reacted to, the work of the Renaissance masters. Rather than adopting the harmonious ideals associated with Raphael and Michelangelo, they went a step further to create highly artificial compositions which showed off their techniques and skills in manipulating compositional elements to create a sense of sophisticated elegance.

Mannerism spread all over Europe, and in Britain the elegant artificiality of Elizabethan court painting can be seen as an echo of it. It also influenced later artists such as Henry Fuseli.”

From Wikipedia:

“Henry Fuseli RA; German: Johann Heinrich Füssli (7 February 1741 – 17 April 1825) was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art who spent much of his life in Britain. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare, deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own “Milton Gallery”. He held the posts of Professor of Painting and Keeper at the Royal Academy. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake.”

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