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First Floor

East Ceiling

The three murals and other paintings below were added to the ceiling of the east foyer of the Capitol in 1886.  This was done to improve the appearance of the new main entrance to the building when the second floor stairs were removed and the original basement was converted to the current first floor.  The marble steps were removed in late 1885.  The ceiling paintings below, as well as the early murals in the north and south halls of the first floor were done by unknown artists of the Phillipson Decorative Company of Chicago in 1886.

A woman of religion holding a cross

Anchor by her side, looking out to sea

Distributing the bounty of a cornucopia       


 Chandelier and ceiling decor


Center of 1st Floor Rotunda

We have been informed by the family of Mary Lawler, a personal friend of Julia Bracken, that Ms. Lawler may have been the model.  Books by Ms. Bracken do not refer to the model by name, but seem to indicate that it was someone she and her husband were well acquainted with.

     This sculpture of a woman with open arms represents "Illinois Welcoming the World".  The plaster statue was first displayed  in the Illinois Building at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.  The sculptor, Julia M. Bracken, was asked to reproduce the statue in bronze for the Capitol.  It was dedicated on May 16, 1895.  The star in the marble tile at the base of the statue has eight points, one for each letter in the word Illinois.

     A 1962 newspaper article states that singer and actress Lillian Russell was the model for this statue.

North and South Halls

Eight murals were added to the walls of the north and south corridors of what is now the first floor of the Capitol around 1885.  Unfortunately the names of the artists who painted the eight original murals are unknown.  In 1989, four new murals were added to these corridors to reflect historical and social changes in Illinois from the mid 1800s to the 20th Century. 

"Marquette and Joliet at an Indian Village on the Des Plaines River in 1673"
Location: south hall

"Transforming the Prairie"
Location: south hall, east
Artist: Ken Holder

"Fort Dearborn at the Mouth of the Chicago River"
Location: south hall

"Future Governor Edward Coles Freeing His Slaves While Enroute to Illinois1819"
Location: south hall

"The  Key"
Location: south hall, west
Artist: Billy Morrow Jackson

" New Salem"
Location: south hall

"Lincoln At New Salem 1831"
Location: south hall

"The Rise of Chicago"
Location: south hall, west
Artist: Ellen Lanyon

"Fort Chartres on the Mississippi River Near Prairie du Rocher"
Location: north hall

"U.S. Grant Taking Command at Cairo in 1861"
Location: north hall

"Starved Rock on the Illinois River Near Ottawa"
Location: north hall

"A Clinic on Constructive Contribution"
Location: north hall, west
Artist: D.F. Bushman

House of Representatives Committee Room 114

This room was restored in the winter of 2006.  Portraits of  five former Speakers of the House enhance the decor.

Asa G. Matthews
36th General Assembly

John H. Miller
43rd General Assembly

Charles Adkins
47th General Assembly

William McKinley
48th General Assembly
David E. Shanahan
49th,50th,51st,53rd,56th,57th  G.A.

Legislative Reference Bureau Library

Civil War Soldier

This artwork was uncovered during a restoration project in the early 1970s in what is now the Legislative Reference Bureau, located in the southeast corner of the building.  A mezzanine was constructed in 1971 which presently permits visitors to view the artwork up close.  This area of the capitol was once the office of the Illinois Adjutant General.

Relief of Col. Edward Baker, Civil War hero and friend of Abraham Lincoln

 Southwest Corridor

Also in 1971, across the hall from the Legislative Reference Bureau library, paintings were  discovered on the ceiling.  These are representations of George Washington, a woman draped in robes holding U. S. shield, a depiction of the state seal and a young Abraham Lincoln.  Before the area was partitioned, the artwork pictured above was featured in two recessed panels in the center of the ceiling of a much larger room.

Room 100

Found at the same time and recently partially restored was the artwork of Room 100.  This area shows just how elaborate and beautiful the wall coverings were originally.    The room was once the location of Memorial Hall, home to the Illinois' battle flags and war relics, and is an example of hidden paintings that the authors believe exist throughout the building.  Names of Civil War battles that Illinois troops participated in and war related murals were painted in panels near the top of the walls in this once spacious room.