Kicker: Mystery portrait

NICK EICHER, HOST: Two months ago we told you about the mysterious case of an unidentified man’s portrait hanging in a Massachusetts court.

It’s hung there for decades, and researchers had no idea who it was.

Well, case solved. The painting is of Lemuel Shaw. He served as chief justice of the state from 1830 to 1860.
The court had sought help from the public— but it was actually a court officer who figured out the man’s identity. He used light tests to reveal the initials “LS” on the wood panel attached to the canvas.

But this whale-of-a-tale has another twist to it. Turns out Shaw was also the father-in-law of “Moby Dick” author Herman Melville.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

(Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court via AP) This February 2018 photo released by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court shows an oil painting of an unidentified former court justice painted by an unknown artist, which hangs in the court’s collection of images of retired justices in Boston. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

Like this story?

To hear a lot more like it, subscribe to The World and Everything in It via iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or Pocket Casts.







Pocket Casts

(Requires a fee)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.