Justice portrait mystery solved in Massachusetts

By: 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON (AP) — The case of the unknown Massachusetts high court justice has been solved.

Nearly two months after the Supreme Judicial Court appealed to the public for help identifying the man whose portrait hangs outside the chief justice's chambers, he has a name: Lemuel Shaw, who served as chief justice from 1830 until 1860.

The court received 40 "informed guesses" on the identity of the mystery man, but Assistant Chief Court Officer Keith Downer's nifty detective work was what cracked the case.

Among other things, Downer performed bright yellow and white light tests that revealed the loop script initials "LS" on the wood panel attached to the canvas, court officials say.

"The remarkable level of interest among members of the public and over 40 submissions received is an example of civic engagement at its best," Chief Justice Ralph Gants said.

Court officials believe the portrait was painted before or around the time Shaw was appointed to the high court in 1830. While not 100 percent sure they've solved the mystery, they're confident Shaw's the man.

Shaw's name will be attached to the portrait next month.

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