The Signing of the Magna Charta
MURAL PAINTING AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
The Magna Charta (Carta), an English charter, granted to all freemen the rights and liberties it encompassed. On June 15, 1215, King John met with his barons and k nights who had forced the monarch to confirm their liberties or suffer the consequences of war to the death. The Barons had submit to John their demands some months before, and on June 15 the King affixed his seal to the preliminary draft. After four days of negotiation regarding the particulars, John would place the great seal on all of the copies. Some have referred to the Magna Charta (Carta) as the “Mother of all Constitutions,” and this document had a decided influence on those who drafted the Constitution of the United States.
The mural depicts Stephen Langton in a vibrant orange red robe prevailing on King John to sign the document. He is seen surrounded by various Church dignitaries. Sitting in front of the seated figure of King John is Robert Fitzwalter; and standing behind the King are the Earl of Pembroke and Pandulph, the Pope’s Legate and Bishop of Norwich. To the left of center are men at arms, nobles, and half-clothed boatmen.
Sir Frank Brangwyn, the mural artist, was born in Bruges, Belgium in 1867, moving back to England with his family in 1875. Brangwyn, the son of an architect and muralist, was working for William Morris ( a leading member of the arts and crafts movement and best known for his pattern designs especially on fabrics and wallpapers) at the age of fifteen; and throughout his career Sir Frank illustrated books, worked in watercolor, created etchings, and painted murals.
Identification of those depicted in the painting standing to the left, and right, of the doorway.
Left of Doorway:
Almeric-Master of Knight Templars
Roger Bigod (Ear of Norfolk)
Geoffry De Madeville
Robert of Vere (Earl of Oxford)
Simon De Kyne
Eustace De Vesci
Ranulph De Veaux
Soldiers at Arms
Page Boy with Shield of Almeric
Right of Doorway:
Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of York
Pandulph, “Pope’s Legate”
Bishop of Dublin
Bishop of London
Earl of Pembroke
Robert De Ross
Henry De Boehm
Standard Bearer, “With Arms of England”
William Ferrers Baron on John’s Side
Peter De Mauley Baron on John’s Side
Soldiers at Arms
Bishop of Winchester