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Stairwell, Senate Building, Cameraman


TitleStairwell, Senate Building, Cameraman
Artist/MakerLily Spandorf (1914 - 2000) 
Date1961
MediumPen and ink on paper
Dimensions h. 18 x  w. 13.25 in. ( h. 45.7 x  w. 33.7 cm)
Credit LineU.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number37.00013.000


  • Object Description
  • In 1961, legendary director Otto Preminger came to Capitol Hill to film a classic story about the U.S. Senate, Advise and Consent. During the filming of the movie, freelance artist Lily Spandorf was sent by the Washington Star newspaper to make a few pen and ink illustrations of the production. Although she quickly obtained the images she needed, she continued her work throughout the movie's Washington filming, creating 68 pen-and-ink and two gouache (watercolor) illustrations. Her work attracted the attention of Preminger, and at his request selections of her sketches were exhibited at the movie's premiere.

    The movie was an adaptation of Allen Drury's 1959 Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name, which explored Washington politics through a controversial cabinet nomination set against the background of the Cold War. The title comes from Article II, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. That section gives the Senate the responsibility to advise the president on cabinet nominees, and the authority to consent to (approve or reject) those nominations.

  • Artist/Maker
  • From 1960 to 1981, Lily Spandorf (1914–2000) worked for the Washington Star newspaper as a contributing artist, giving readers artistic interpretations of events such as the 1968 Democratic National Convention and White House Easter Egg Rolls.

    Lily Spandorf said of her Advise and Consent drawings, "I combined the action on both sides of the camera with the setting of the U.S. Cpaitol and Washington. The images capture the events surrounding this unique filming-the only time the interior of the Capitol has been used as a movie set."

    Spandorf's work attracted the attention of director Otto Preminger, and at his request the images were displayed at the Washington premier of Advise and Consent, at the Trans-Lux theater on 14th St., NW. When the movie was re-released in 1987, many of the drawings were again exhibited at the National Press Club.

    Many of Spandorf's other works are showcased in Lily Spandorf's Washington Never More by Mark G. Griffin and Ellen M. McCloskey, which is a collection of sketches depicting Washington, DC neighborhoods and buildings. This work is particularly significant because many of the buildings illustrated in the book are no longer standing today.

  • Related Links
  • Senate Stories | Hollywood on the Hill: The Filming of “Advise and Consent”
  • Senate Exhibitions & Publications
  • Popular Culture: Hollywood on the Hill (Digital Collection)