Parliament of Owls & Lawyer Dolls



‘Night Trial’ by Louis Wain –  owls as 12 jurors, judge, counsel and possibly court personnel. A  wood engraving made by Louis Wain circa 1890S for a children’s magazine. It is fitted in A3 = 16.5 x 11.7 inches.

Looks like a gathering of owls conducting a night court trial. A ‘parliament’ perhaps. Like a murder of crows, a skulk of foxes, a brood of chickens or a mob of kangaroos, a plural grouping of owls is a “parliament” perhaps from a collective of people of so called wise disposition. I assume we are to assume that all parliamentarians are people, like owls, of wise disposition. Yeah, right.

I am no authority on this kind of word usage or the history of collective names in literature and language or how they came to be attributed to certain birds and animals. Poetry? Literature? For effect, atmosphere and feeling perhaps. Could all be quite fanciful and for fun for all I know. I mean, where on earth did a mob of kangaroos come from?

Anyway, this fabulously interesting link on the history of collective nouns might help.



Love the attention to detail in these four versions of the gorgeous barrister owl doll from the London Owl Company. Stands about 38cm/15″.


Grotesque and bellicose “Judge”by R. W. Martin & Brothers Bird jar and cover April 1889. Salt-glazed stoneware, ebonized wood.


Honourable Oliphant Owl Esq., “After a hard day of trial the bar is where I must rest” You see, “I am a wise fellow, and one that knows the law” (Much Ado about Nothing)

I shared Will Bullas work here in his depiction of a crow as a barrister.


The law school ladies of Otago Women Lawyers Society



At my age and dotage I guess I’m an owl – an ‘old.woman.lawya’

All much ado about nothing.

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