Silverjewels’s Blog



“The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, I think, 
because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.”

~Bertrand Russell, Ideas That Have Harmed Mankind


A little piece of history in a modern home



A 1750 Louis XV walnut commode looks splendid in this corner in this beautiful home, which goes exceptionally well with the antiques under a post- and- beam ceiling made from 150 year old barn boards.

The Louis XV commode is much lighter in form compared to the Regence commode which was larger and heavier.  The earlier is certainly more graceful, with a curved carcass and having a sharp apron on higher legs.

Some of the finest  Louis XV commodes were covered in fabulous marquetry protected by elaborate bronze mounts. Other desirable commodes of this period was usually lacquered, a technique borrowed from the Chinese.




I admire this designer’s (Barry Dixon) work where he put together a monastic feel throughout the room, aided by an old painting of the pope.  The elements used were mostly English or Celtic. With clever use of lightings and choice of furniture, it became  ” .. an area of repose humanized by the portraits, a place to retreat to and never have to be alone.”



On sentencing. Should it be based upon retribution?

Should a judge when sentencing should always bear in mind retribution? If he does not, is he not failing in his duties?

The retributive theory of punishment is founded between the Church and the State historically. This theory simply states that wrong doers deserve punishment and the penal system can demand atonement by way of punishment.

Retributive sentencing also requires that the severity of the punishment is related to the amount of harm that has been caused.  In principle, it is the “eye for eye” doctrine. Thus, the operation of the ‘tariff system’ is adopted meaning that the sentence in punishment would be proportionate to the moral worthiness and seriousness of the crime.  The stronger the public sentiments and outcry is the offence, the more severe the punishment should be.   But isn’t this process, like argued by Smith and  Hogan, containing a relic of barbarism in that the judge is actually wreaking vengeance on behalf of the public for the wrongs done against society? Thus, is has on occasions been called a crude retaliation theory because it depends  simply on the degree of public revulsion.

Without a doubt,  it is absolutely necessary for a judge to have to consider all other factors before him and to bear in mind over and beyond retribution when imposing a sentence.  Consideration must be given to the utilitarian theory of punishment which rather than looking to the offending act as the retributive theory practices, it should require a punishment to be inflicted only so far as it will deter the particular person as a warning from repeating the offending act.

The principle of deterrence is seen to be more balanced.  However, the use of this method might seem to contradict the principle of justice that all like cases should be treated alike. Thus it would seem unfair to the offender that he was being made an example becuase his sentence may not reflect his own moral blameworthiness but simply policy matters extraneous to his own particular circumstances.

There is also the rehabilitation theory which suggests that crime is committed because the offender has somehow slipped from societal norms and thus, all that is required is to reinforce societal values so that he will become a valuable contributing member after the rehabilitation process. Baroness Wooton maintained that crime is also due to causal factors, such as psychological or environmental. Thus, criminals shouldn’t be punished but treated. However, many differing views  have also been observed in that prisons are indeed a “University of crime” and it would only have an opposite effect as a young or new offender can learn the more subtle aspects of crime. Moreover, the gross disparities is sentences resulted as different judges held different views as to what lenght of prison sentence was necessary to reform an offender.

This Retributive theory of metting out punishment can be contrased with the Utilitarian theory in that the latter theory provides that punishment can only be justified by reference to its beneficial future aspects on the wrong doer. Thus the accused should not be punished for its past mideeds. Rather, it should have a curative or beneficial effect. This approach, if considered, enables the courts to “individualise” the sentence. This will allow for particular character of the accused rather than just applying a strict scale of punishment.

The protection of the public is regarded among the judiciary as the most important object of Criminal Law. Oftentimes, the judge may impose an extended term of imprisonment or apply the incapacitation theory, that is to deport the offender to another state especially if there were hard core and dangerous criminals who were capable of causing serious harm to the public. This is made possible by the virtue of Section 28 of the Powers of the Criminal Court Act 1973.

It may be a fact that in most cases, a judge has very little interest or minimal consideration put in to reform the offender.  The retributive approach to sentencing do not pay great emphasis on the possibility of the offender being reformed. Most judges agree and feel that they can do little to encourage or implement. As confirmed by a dicta, in relation to offences of dishonesty, sentences of imprisonment except where there’s an element of protection of the public, they are not normally intended to be the correct sentence for the particular crime and not to include a curative element.

However, exceptions can be drawn if offences involve a more dangerous nature such as drugs or cases requiring protection for the public.  Example, case of R v Glasse  (1968) the Court of Appeal upheld a longer term than average sentence on the basis that extra time was necessary not merely as punishment but to produce the necessary conditions where the offender can be cured. (In this case, the offender was a drug addict.)

Conclusion, retribution is an important and vital factor for consideration for a judge when sentencing. However, it is not the only factor as its retaliation aspect must be tempered by other factors if the judges were to achieve their specific aims both in relation to society as a whole and the individual ofender or victim as well.

The task of sentencing is no small task and the judge is oftentimes seen as to be walking on a thin tight rope where he has to balance between the public hysteria of a crime to the other end of the scale of the ultimate justification to a reasonable citizen.

F. L.
2 February 2009

Regent Street







fl's file

fl's file


A gorgeous circular top with inset gilt-tooled leather surface above a frieze containing four drawers on an original piece. ( A pity I am unable to show  here as pic is a protected copy ) Its four drawers alternates with simulated drawers. 

It is raised on a turned standard with four cabriole legs ending in brass paw feet.

30 1/2″ high x 47″ diameter







 Another of my many favourites is the Lowboy or Dressing Table.  

Lowboys date from the William and Mary period and the form reached its peak during the Queen Anne period.

The early pieces were much heavier in the feel and look as it had stretchers.  From the Queen Anne period onwards to the late Georgian period found mostly simpler form, such as straight or tapered legs and the form went sterile.

There were exceptions though, especially towards the late Georgian period- where high rococo pieces still on cabriole legs with whorl or ball and claw feet,  often brilliantly carved carcasses with superb fne gilt brasses. The molded tops are highly desirable compared to the plain ones. 



A close resemblance to a magnificent Chippendale style hand carved lowboy after a Philadephia prototype. Its fully carved ends and front carved quarter colomns..and  Cross hatching on leg and skirt is somewhat unusual characteristic found on Philadephia lowboys or even highboys.

Even though this is a humble reproduction but still, the skilled carpenter who had made this piece from a personal order has been superbly executed and highest level of satisfaction accomplished.

33 1/8″ wide x 20 1/2″deep x 30″ high



 (fl’s file    Personal Journal in Designing Ideas)



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European History : A passage of time and changes..

Medieval Studies : A Bibliograhical Guide

Early Medieval Architecture

Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture

Ecclesiastical Courts & Canon Law 

Criminology & Criminal Justice of ecclesiastical order, criminal justice traditions, perspective of women in Law & Arts

Renaissance of the Elizabethan Period, Shakespearian & Tudor

Old world charm

Arts & Crafts

Period Houses

Decorative Art & Scultures 

Antique Furniture

English & Continental

Colonial Revival