Return of 1888 painting scheme in Supreme Court

The 1888 decorative painting scheme has been restored to the upper level of the historic Supreme Court Chamber, which will become one of the largest meeting rooms in the Capitol.

The Supreme Court Chamber was originally painted in a style called trompe l’oeil, which means to “fool the eye.” This style of painting created an illusion of three-dimensions through the use of highlights and shadows in the painting process.

Due to the level of invasive infrastructure work necessary to install new systems and address code-related issues, the interior of the Capitol had to be repainted, providing the opportunity to restore the original paint palettes and decorative designs. Investigative studies revealed extensive decorative designs in historic chambers, offices, and monumental corridors in the 1888 and 1890 sections of the Capitol.

A worker installs part of the new smoke detection system in the ceiling of the Supreme Court Chamber. Prior to the restoration, the Capitol had very little smoke detection, and no smoke evacuation or fire suppression systems.

Evergreen Architectural Arts hand painted the canvases in their studio and then carefully placed them on the Supreme Court walls.

Each of the canvases had to be cut by hand to fit around the historic woodwork in the room.

The historic skylight is being restored, bringing more natural light into the room. The stained glass lay light and chandelier that were most recently located in Room 302 will also be restored.

An investigative study in July 2017 revealed extensive decorative designs in the historic chamber.

Demolition in April 2017 returned the chamber to its original two-story volume. This magnificent room will become the largest meeting room in the Capitol and will seat approximately 75 members of the public, with the restoration of the balcony.

The non-historic floor was removed in April 2017.

Prior to the restoration in 2016, the historic Supreme Court Chamber was split into two floors. The second floor housed office space for the Legislative Service Office.

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