In the past


The courtroom drawing can either take on a documentary nature or opt for caricature.
Daumier’s name comes instantly to our minds; yet we must not forget other artists of Daumier’s times who also parodied Louis-Philippe’s justice, especially by denouncing the judges’ dependence on the ruling classes.
At the Belle Époque, another generation of artists with a taste for satire published in journals such as ‘L’Assiette au beurre’, denouncing a repressive system of justice by means of their courtroom sketches.

Image n°1 : The Trial of Freedom.

Ordre des avocats de Paris . octobre 1832. Lithography, 24x36,5cm.
This drawing was published by ‘La Caricature’, a satirical periodical of liberal and republican leanings which appeared between 1830 and 1835. In its attacks against the July Monarchy, judges were a favourite target. The artists represented Freedom, on the right, in the dock. Freedom is judged by Louis-Philippe’s henchmen. The president of the jury, here on the left, declares the defendant guilty..

© Ordre des avocats de Paris

Image n°2 : An Audience at the 'Théâtre des Folies-Politiques'.

Ordre des avocats de Paris . La Caricature. 21 mars 1833. Lithography, 23,5x29cm.
‘Gentlemen, the author of the play we had the honour of performing for you wishes to remain anonymous’. So say the prosecutors to the public. In the centre, seen from the back, is Louis-Philippe in the prompter’s place. The ‘play’ refers to a trial in the Assize court which has just ended. Bergeron and Benoit, tried for the attempted assassination of the king, have been found not guilty by a popular jury, to the great joy of the opposition..

© Ordre des avocats de Paris

Image n°3 : Judges!.

Ordre des avocats de Paris . L’Assiette au beurre. 8 août 1903.. 31x24, 5cm.
The caricature of a trial can parody the legal institution without focusing on one case. Here, Willette is poking fun at lawyers in general. The young woman of humble origins is giving evidence, yet she almost seems to be under accusation, crushed by the three judges who are blatantly inspecting her appearance and firing questions in their own jargon. .

© Ordre des avocats de Paris

Image n°4 : Prosecuting Counsel.

Ordre des avocats de Paris . L’Assiette au beurre. samedi 29 août 1903. 31x24,5cm.
The person representing the State Counsel’s office is a traditional target for caricaturists. They see in this figure the very incarnation of a justice that is exclusively punitive, even synonymous with death. Launay’s drawing in red and black almost makes the prosecutor an evil personage. The caption by Gaston de Pawlowski mocks legal jargon. .

© Ordre des avocats de Paris

Image n°5 : A Faint during the Trial.

Ordre des avocats de Paris . 1910. Etching, 25x32cm.
Forain is a well-known caricaturist, especially of the Dreyfus Affair, when he expressed himself virulently. However, as it turned out, he was on the wrong side - in the anti-Dreyfus camp. He is also the author of courtroom scenes that are not satirical in nature and, on the contrary, show a certain compassion for the weaker parties. This work is not so much a caricature as an original artistic creation..

© Ordre des avocats de Paris