Courtroom sketch artist in several notorious cases dies


BOSTON — A courtroom sketch artist who drew pictures of defendants in some of the most notorious cases tried in federal court in Boston, and whose work was used by news outlets worldwide, has died, according to her family.

Jane Flavell Collins, died Sunday, her son, Peter, told WBZ-TV.

She was 84.

Cameras are not allowed in federal courtrooms so The Associated Press as well as local media outlets would often call on Collins to capture the goings-on during trial.

She sketched Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and shoe bomber Richard Reid, disgraced Massachusetts politicians like former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, and more recently, actors Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, when they were sentenced in the college admissions bribery scandal.

Collins did not set out to be a sketch artist.

A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art, she trained in Italy in her 20s.

“Never in a million years did I think my art would lead me in this direction,” she told The Boston Globe for a story in 2018.

She honed her portrait skills while still in college, making a few extra bucks by drawing tourists on Cape Cod.

“Even as a young art student, I liked drawing portraits,” she told the Duxbury Clipper newspaper last June. “I worked in Hyannis drawing quick portraits for about $2 apiece back then.”

She also painted landscapes in acrylics, oils and watercolors, and drew portraits that she displayed on her website.

Born in 1937 in Rockland, she had most recently lived in Duxbury.

Her husband, Peter Collins, died in 2019. Her sister, Constance Flavell Pratt, also a courtroom sketch artist, died in 2016.

She is survived by three sons, six grandchildren, and a brother. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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