In February, Canada’s first woman chief Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin received a Florentine tribute to her 28 years of service when presented with the “adoption” of Plautilla Nelli’s Judas Thaddeus at London’s Society of Gray’s Inn.
Which apostle from Advancing Women Artists’s Florence-based Adopt a Saint restoration campaign would feel most at home with such a distinguished jurist? As the patron saint of lost causes, Saint Jude fits naturally with the chief justice of the court of last resort, which hears cases when all other avenues for redress have been exhausted. Local art lovers who followed AWA’s The First Last campaign, which funded Phase I of Nelli’s Last Supper project, will be happy to hear that six of the painting’s 13 figures already have “parents”.
A retirement gift from McLachlin’s stepson Wayne McArdle and his wife, AWA international advisory council member Margaret MacKinnon, this gesture to conserve art by women is well-suited to a pioneering modern-day woman who, like Plautilla, championed her own obstacle race, with over 400 judgements touching every area of Canadian law.