Into the Light: Lawrence Daws and Queensland’s Legal Landscape

Into the Light: Lawrence Daws and Queensland’s Legal Landscape exhibition told the story behind the Supreme Court's treasured mural painting, which hangs on the third floor of the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law building in George Street, Brisbane.

In 1981, eminent Queensland artist Lawrence Daws was commissioned to create a large-scale painting that visually traced the Supreme Court's fascinating history - from the dark days of penal settlement to the more enlightened times of the late 20th century.

The mural, titled The Development of Justice in Queensland, was painted at Owl Creek - Daws' renowned artists' retreat and studio on the Sunshine Coast. The 10 metre long mural is, in effect, a depiction of Queensland's legal landscape. It contains obvious historic references as well as the artist's more concealed symbolism.

The Supreme Court Library Queensland is fortunate to own the entire archive of preparatory material for this major work, including Daws' sketchbooks, small 'test' paintings, documentary photographs, correspondence, plans and research notes.

This wonderful archive was donated to the Library in 2009 by then Supreme Court Judge the Hon Margaret White AO and Dr Michael White QC and is the focus of this exhibition.

The archive is unique as it reveals the creative research and decision-making process of one of Australia's leading artists. It also provides an invaluable insight into the history of justice in Queensland, including portraits of key judicial figures over the decades.

The exhibition was curated by Brisbane-based author and curator Timothy Morrell, in collaboration with Lawrence Daws and the Supreme Court Library's Heritage and Education Programs team. Read Timothy Morrell's essay on the Archival Material for the Lawrence Daws Mural to find out more about this amazing painting and the story behind it.

Read a recent article on the exhibition in Proctor - Queensland Law Society's magazine.

See us featured in—

The Courier Mail CANVAS—ARTS article by Phil Brown, and also in  

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