Law Triumphant by Violet Oakley: Art Book celebrating law & world peace over force & war.

(No reviews yet) Write a Review
Gift wrapping:
Options available

Law Triumphant by Violet Oakley 


This book is a series of plates depicting Violet Oakley’s political ideology with its celebration of the triumph of law over force. 

The first section of full color images illustrates the historical development of the rule of law.  The next sections of drawings, honor and tell the stories of the people who created the "League of Nations" which was the first organization bringing together nations worldwide to work together towards the goal of ending war forever.  The last plate celebrates the joy of working towards peace. 

Clearly we have not gotten there yet, but the vision is inspiring, and we must keep working together towards world peace.

Four sections of plates, known as THE GENEVA DRAWINGS

    • 1-16 full color plates
    • This highly finished study is for the first of sixteen canvases installed around the walls of the Supreme Court Room of the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
    • The final work, which is designed as an enlarged version of an illuminated manuscript, pictures an allegorical representation of Truth behind letters spelling "LAW."
    • The League of Nations (LN) was the first international organization whose principle mission was to maintain world peace.  Founded January 10, 1920, growing out of the Paris Peace Conference which ended the first world war.  It continued for 26 years, until the onset of the second world war made it clear that the organization was not working, at which time it was replaced by the United Nations (UN).  (More info below)
    • 17-41, Drawings of each of the members of the Assembly
    • Plates 42 – 57
    • Plates 58 - 70
    • Plate 71, titled: “To the Counsellors of Peace is Joy”

Law Triumphant Containing the Opening of the Book of Law
by Oakley, Violet
15 ¼”  x 11 ½”  tan cover with redish-orange print.

This book might possibly have been privately printed by Violet Oakley, in or about 1932 when the first editions were published.  Although I was able to track down several of the first editions, this book has no indication of publisher, date, etc. and I have been unable to find any other like it. 

The first editions were leather bound, signed, and limited to 300 copies.  Published Alfred Smith and Company (Philadelphia) and the conclusion containing subscriber’s list, biographical notices, list of exhibitions, pp105-113.

This book is not in great condition. It has water damage and many of the plates are lose.  But all the plates are here, and the book is fascinating, both from an art and historical view.  It is also an exciting look at history and possibilities for the future.  

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

By the end of the first decade of this century Violet Oakley had become the first American woman to achieve success as a mural painter, in a traditionally male field. In 1905 she won a medal for the first room that she decorated in the new Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, and in 1911 Oakley was commissioned to paint murals for two other chambers in the building. This drawing is a study for Divine Law, the first of sixteen large canvases painted for the Supreme Court Room in the Capitol between 1917 and 1927. Designed as an enlarged version of an illuminated manuscript on the historical development of law, the series represents the culmination of Oakley's social and political ideology with its celebration of the triumph of law over force. In Divine Law, behind the monumental letters spelling LAW looms the face of Truth, half-concealed, half-revealed. A committed antimodernist academic painter, Oakley spent her entire career in Philadelphia. A renewed appreciation of academic art has recently revived interest in her work, which is preserved in substantial depth in this Museum and in the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. Ann Percy, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 238.

More about Violet Oakley:    


The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. Wikipedia

Founder: Woodrow Wilson
Founded: January 10, 1920
Ceased operations: April 20, 1946
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Capital: Geneva

From Wikipedia:
The League of Nations (abbreviated as LN in English, La Société des Nations [abbreviated as SDN or SdN in French) was an intergovernmental organization founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.  Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labor conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the victorious Great Powers of World War I (France, the UK, Italy, and Japan were the permanent members of the executive Council) to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed. The Great Powers were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, when the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that "the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out."

After some notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. The credibility of the organization was somewhat weakened by the fact that the United States never officially joined the League and the Soviet Union joined late and only briefly. Germany withdrew from the League, as did Japan, Italy, Spain and others. The onset of the Second World War showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war. The League lasted for 26 years; the United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the Second World War and inherited several agencies and organizations founded by the League.