Academic’s grandaughter sues Nirvana over use of ‘Vestibule’ image

Jocelyn Susan Bundy alleges that the image has been used without permission since 1997

The granddaughter of Charles-Wilfrid Scott-Giles, a prominent 20th century academic, is suing Nirvana for copyright infringement.

A suit filed by Jocelyn Susan Bundy alleges that Nirvana have been using an image created by Scott-Giles on their merchandise without permission since 1997.

Scott-Giles is best known for having produced several academic books on heraldry in the 1950s and 1960s


The image in question is a map of the circles of hell as described by 14th century writer Dante Alighieri in the Inferno section of his epic poem The Divine Comedy, which has appeared on Nirvana-branded t-shirts among other merch.

Nirvana’s ‘Vestibule’ T-shirt CREDIT: Amazon

Although Bundy’s suit is officially suing the band for using the image since 1997, her suit says the band have been using the so-called ‘Vestibule’ design as far back as 1989. It is currently listed for sale at Hot Topic, among other mainstream retailers.

In her lawsuit against Nirvana and Live Nation Merchandise, Bundy said that Nirvana have in the past “implied that Kurt Cobain created the Illustration or, in the alternative, that the Illustration is in the public domain in the United States.”

It’s not the first time a Nirvana design has been at the centre of a copyright lawsuit. In 2018, the band sued Marc Jacobs for allegedly stealing their iconic smiley face design.


Last year, graphic designer Robert Fisher then sued Nirvana, claiming that it was in fact he who had first come up with the smiley face logo while he worked at Geffen Records in 1993.

Last week, meanwhile, it was announced that Kurt Cobain’s ‘The Last Session’ photoshoot is to be sold as a Non Fungible Token. The pictures were taken just a few months before the frontman’s death in 1994.