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York Assize Courts Front Pedimented Portico Steps p01

Photograph: The front steps and pedimented portico of York's assize courts building.

Image Description

This image shows the central part of the front facade of the two-storey Assize Courts Building (now York Crown Court), with the adjoining terrace and access steps in the foreground.

The building is constructed from a pale yellowy-brown, fine-grained sandstone. Two (of three) plain bays can be seen on either side of a central portico.

The visible area of each plain bay features two small square upper storey windows and two tall arch-topped lower storey windows. An ornamental border visually separates the two storeys. A fraction of one of the third plain bays is visible at the extreme left of the image. Each of the plain bay sections is topped with a modillion cornice and a balustraded parapet.

The central portico is surmounted by a pediment supported by four plain Ionic columns between a pair of Ionic pilasters. The plain wall behind the columns is pierced by three round windows (upper storey), plus a pair of tall arch-topped windows separated by an arch-topped doorway containing a two-leaf door with fanlight above. The pediment contains a wreath over a saltire cross formed from a fasces (an axe bound in a bundle of wooden rods) and a staff bearing the cap of liberty. Above the apex of the pediment, there is a stone figure representing Mother Justice (aka Lady Justice). She is holding a spear in her left hand and a set of scales in her right hand.  The pediment terminates beside a stone lion (left) and a stone unicorn (right).

There is a wide flight of stone steps in front of the portico. There are six steps up to a terrace level, then a further four steps up to the building's entrance level. On either side of the steps, spear-headed cast iron railings run along the front edge of the terrace.