7 cool pieces of art from the Magna Carta exhibition at Gray’s Inn

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By Alex Aldridge on

Rebecca Hossack’s exhibition has a sense of humour

Earlier this week I popped down to Gray’s Inn to have a look at Rebecca Hossack’s much-talked about Magna Carta exhibition, which is on until 16 July.

With guidance from one of the Inn’s benchers, the top media law barrister Christina Michalos who came up with the idea for the exhibition, I spent an enjoyable afternoon taking in the legally-inspired pictures.

Each was done by a leading artist after Hossack — a former wannabe barrister who has gone on to acclaim in the art world after setting up her own gallery in 1988 — asked them to come up with something to celebrate the Magna Carta.

I’m no art expert, so I’ll go light on the commentary, but here are my top seven works from the exhibition.

Bill Of Rights

While many focus on the “rights”, for wild bird-loving artist Rebecca Jewell it’s all about the “bill”.

Rebecca Jewell, Bill Of Rights, 2015, printed and painted labels on gold leaf, 60 x 65 cm

Clause 29

Clause 29 is one of only three clauses in the Magna Carta that is still on the statute books. If you read from left to right of Phil Shaw’s picture, the first word of each book title from the top forms the words of the clause.

Phil Shaw, Clause 29, 2015,eight colour pigment based archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 116.8 x 50.8 cm, 46 x 20 in, edition of 60

Every Man To Be Subject To The Law

Ian Penney has cut out words from the Magna Carta and then overlayed them on his drawing of Grey’s Inn (as it was then spelt) in the 1500s.

Ian Penney, Every Man To Be Subject To The Law Magna Carta at Gray's Inn, 2015, papercut, 85 x 85 cm

The Ankerwycke Yew

Sheila Clarkson’s pastel on paper drawing of the longstanding Berkshire tree which is said to have witnessed the signing of the Magna Carta.

Sheila Clarkson, The Ankerwycke Yew - A Living Witness, 2015, pastel on paper, 120 x 94.5 cm - Copy

London Bridge II

Artist Laura Jordan’s modern tribute to the not-so-brilliantly drafted Clause 23 of Magna Carta (“No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so”).

Laura Jordan, London Bridge II, 2012, hand-finished print, 97 x 73 cm, 38 14 x 28 34 in, edition of 50

Passing Thunder Storm Over Gray’s Inn Chapel

Timed nicely by Chris Knox to coincide with the arrival of Lord Chancellor Gove.

Chris Knox, Passing Thunder Storm Over Gray's Inn Chapel, 2015, graphite on paper, 89 x 74 cm

Everyone Is Subject To The Law

A typically charming 1215 scene, by Emma Haworth, moments before the White Walkers spilled over The Wall.

Emma Haworth,Everyone Is Subject To The Law, 2015, watercolour on paper, 50 x 87 cm

The Rebecca Hossack Magna Carta Art Exhibition is in the Bingham Room at Gray’s Inn. It is open to the public at the following times: Friday 26 June 12-2pm, Tuesday 30 June 12-2pm, Friday 10 July 12-2pm, Wednesday 15 July 12-2pm.

The work is for sale, with 10% of sale proceeds going to the Gray’s Inn scholarship fund.