Official Portrait of Retired Davidson County Chancery Court Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman Completed

November 15, 2021

A portrait of retired Davidson County Chancery Court Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman was recently completed by Nashville Artist, Illustrator and Storyboard Artist, J. William Myers.

Myers is an ADDY-award winning artist and illustrator of numerous posters, book covers, children’sbooks,magazines,murals,album covers and storyboards for films,commercials and music videos. A well-known portraitist, his subjects have included Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter and his family, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Alex Haley, Vanessa Redgrave, James Galway, Robert Redford, Benny Goodman, John Hoomes and Pauline Gore. His work has stood the test of time. Three murals created by Myers are displayed at the Vanderbilt Law School: “The Scopes Trial” and the “Leopold Loeb Trial” feature Clarence Darrow. A third mural, “Equal Justice Under Law,” depicts key figures in civil rights events.

“I admire Bill’s art for it’s beauty, it’s meaning and it’s heart. I am grateful for the time and care that Bill devoted to this fine portrait and for many decades of friendship between our families,” said Chancellor Bonnyman.

Due to Covid-19 concerns, Chancellor Bonnyman decided to forgo an official portrait unveiling ceremony.  The portrait was gifted to the Nashville Bar Association and is on permanent display in the courtroom in which Chancellor Pat Moskal presides. 

Chancellor Bonnyman retired on Jan. 1, 2019, after serving on the Davidson County Chancery Court for 15 years. She was appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen in 2003 and won election three times, most recently in 2014.

“From presiding over name changes, to civil rights lawsuits, Chancery provided me a work life of purpose and joy. The flowers in my portrait represent court staff and the lawyers who faithfully care for their clients and for the rule of law,” said Chancellor Bonnyman.

Even before she was appointed to the bench, Chancellor Bonnyman was well-acquainted with the Davidson County Chancery Court. She previously served as Clerk and Master for the court, starting in 1989.

Before that, she served as the only female Assistant District Attorney in District Attorney Tom Shriver’s office and was in private practice for a number of years as a partner with the firms Waddey and Jennings, as well as Ortale, Kelly, Herbert and Crawford.

In 1981, Chancellor Bonnyman was named the first president of the Lawyers’ Association for Women, an organization she helped found.

Chancellor Bonnyman hopes to hold an official portrait unveiling ceremony sometime in the future.

Portrait of Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman

"The Scopes Trial" (top) and "The Leopold Loeb Trial" (bottom)

"Equal Justice Under Law"