Henry Trotter in front of Yale stained glass windows

Yale Law School Ornamentation

The Killer The Thief The Cop The Judge

One of the gems of Yale's architectural heritage is the sense of humour imparted by James Gamble Rogers, the architect (and Yale graduate) who designed many of Yale's neo-Gothic treasures in the inter-war period. Throughout the Yale campus, one may find hilarious little sculptural treasures ornamenting the otherwise serious and foreboding Gothic buildings. The contrast between the heaviness of the revered Gothic style and Rogers' quirky embellishments makes a walk through the campus a delight, as startling little revelations are found in the many nooks and crannies.

The Yale Law School, in particular, boasts a number of sculptic oddities, like the series of faces above: the killer, the thief, the cop, and the judge. [click pictures for larger images]

The cop threatens with his baton the judge weighs justice before sentencing The convict breaks stones at the prison The chains hold the justice system together

Above, the cop arrests, the judge sentences, the convict breaks stones, and the chains hold the system together.

These are friezes above the two entrances to the Yale Law School. One door is for the professors and the other is for students. Their respective perceptions of the educational process is sculpted in hilarious relief. Over the professors' door is an image of bored, sleeping students who are being taught by an insightful and energetic professor. Sculptural embellishments above the professors' door at the Yale Law School

But over the students' door, engaged and enthusiastic students are confronted by an indifferent professor and a teaching assistant who is sitting behind the professor looking at pornography! Sculptural embellishments above the students' door at the Yale Law School

You never know where you might see some little detail in the stone, some image of a cop or a judge.

The cop and his trusty night-stick A police officer in profile Even high up above, judges are watching us!

All photos by Henry Trotter