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  • "The Fisherman's Widow"

    I just purchased the book "Jack the Ripper: The Murders and the Movies" by Denis Meikle. In it there is a brief discussion of how an art print called "The Fisherman's Widow" was noted hanging on the wall in Mary Kelly's room. The author is unaware of whether this was part of the furnishings that came with the room or whether it was owned by Mary herself (does anyone here know the answer to this?). Meikle notes how practically no personal effects of Mary's were found in the room besides her clothes and dwells just briefly on how this fact plus the presence of the painting might relate to the question of whether the body found in the room really was Mary's or whether she had packed up everything and fled and someone else was killed there (a theory I've personally never put any stock in).

    But further, Meikle posits that perhaps the painting was actually one called "The Widow" by the French artist Evariste Luminais, which is shown on page 114 of the book and depicts a grieving woman being comforted by other women on a cliff overlooking the sea. (I don't have a scanner- maybe someone else who has the book might be able to post an image of it?) If it belonged to Mary, the author surmises, then it would make sense that she could have acquired it during her time in France and that she would have related to it emotionally being a widow herself since age 16.

  • #2
    The short answer is that the specific painting in that print in Kelly's room has never been identified, and probably can't be without more information. At least five have been named as being reasonable candidates, and, as I pointed out in "A Widow of Doubtful Age" in Ripper Notes #26, widows of fishermen was a surprisingly common theme of art of the period.

    John McCarthy testified at the inquest that all furnishings in the room were owned by him, which suggests that the prints would have been also. Certainly there's no evidence that it held any special personal significance to Mary.

    Dan Norder
    Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
    Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

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    • #3
      Hello Dan!

      I have read, that the painting would have been bought by MJK from a market.

      Do you know about the origins of this information?!

      All the best
      Jukka
      "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

      Comment


      • #4
        That was just purely speculation on the part of the person who came up with that idea, as far as I can tell. There's no reason to think that scenario is any more likely than that it was already in the room when she moved in.

        Dan Norder
        Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
        Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Actually...

          Anyone have access to The Illustrated London News of Dec. 5th, 1868? That might have our best candidate yet.

          Dan Norder
          Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
          Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

          Comment


          • #6
            There is a archived thread on the boards regarding the Fishermans Widow with several images of MJK's room although none conclusively show the picture on the wall.

            http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache...lnk&cd=2&gl=uk
            Regards Mike

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            • #7
              Hello M C!

              Something, but nothing specific!

              All the best
              Jukka
              "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Looking back at the thread Mike linked to, I am reminded of a couple of more paintings discussed previously. That makes at least eight explicitly named as possibilities now, plus a variety of others that an argument could be made for.

                So far, though, the only ones that have been actually titled "The Fisherman's Widow" (instead of merely picturing a figure that could be described as being a fisherman's widow or having titles that were similar) are two I've not seen:

                •Charles James Lewis' "The Fisherman's Widow" of unknown date, listed on that auction site Sarah mentioned (I've seen a few of his works, but not specifically the one by that name, as far as I know).

                •Hendricus Jacobus Burgers' "The Fisherman's Widow," which was reproduced as a cheap print in The Illustrated London News on Dec. 5, 1868.

                Dan Norder
                Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
                Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Further to the above answers, the one most commonly referred to is 'A Hopeless Dawn' (I think that's the name, anyway). I did a little snuffling around and discovered it was first exhibited in the UK at the Royal Academy in April of 1888 and that B&W prints were available to buy at the time. If it WAS the one that so many people have suggested, then there is a possibility that MJK could have visited the exhibition and bought a copy, as she was supposedly living in Millers Court by the time it went on display.

                  PHILIP
                  Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.

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                  • #10
                    Here it is
                    Click image for larger version

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                    Painted by Frank Bramley and first exhibited in 1888.Black and white prints would most certainly be available at the time and Mary may well have seen one and taken a fancy to it or been given one as a gift maybe.

                    Here's the sketch featuring the picture over the fireplace,a logical enough place for it to be but sadly we don't really have much more to go on and there is a lot of speculation over the actual title of the painting/print or whether it existed at all.Also a lot of popular paintings of the time went by nicknames by their devotees.


                    Click image for larger version

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                    Suz x
                    'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'

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                    • #11
                      Adrian Morris suggested it was "A Hopeless Dawn" in an article in the Cloak & Dagger Newsletter of Sept. 1995. My understanding is that he went to the Royal Academy and asked what painting the news article was referring to and they said this one. How they picked it is unknown to me, but I suspect the 1888 date played a significant role. It being a more well known painting than some of the others probably contributed as well.

                      It seems to me that if one is looking for a print called "The Fisherman's Widow," ones with that actual title are probably better candidates. A reporter giving the name of the print probably read it straight off the print instead of knowing it off the top of his head, asking someone else, or making one up.

                      But if one is open to it being a print of a different name entirely, then there's a long line of candidates.

                      Dan Norder
                      Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
                      Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Which is fair and right, Dan. Truth is, of course, we'll never know.

                        Suzi - dunno about 'A Hopeless Dawn' - what I see there is a smashed Damien Hirst right next to a Tracey Emin!

                        PHILIP
                        Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Astute observations, Dan, to which I might add
                          Originally posted by Dan Norder View Post
                          if one is open to it being a print of a different name entirely, then there's a long line of candidates.
                          But only those which had become familiar enough to acquire a popular nickname, I'd have thought. This makes Bramley's painting a most un-likely candidate, it having only being unveiled to the public a handful of months before Kelly's murder. That would have left precious little time for this particular "Gioconda" to turn into a "Mona Lisa".
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                          • #14
                            Hi all, A print called "The Fisherman's Widow appeared on the "Antiques Roadshow"last year. It was said to be the original Victorian print that was sold on street markets, by their art expert. It was the rounded head and broad shoulders of a brown haired woman with a blue headscarf,side view-so not a particularly detailed face.

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                            • #15
                              Oh I dunno Gareth -As to 'A Hopeless Dawn'


                              'Miserable Cow in a Thunderstorm' seems to have caught on!!! (Wondrous sales so I hear!)
                              (Especially popular with the lower orders!!!!)

                              Seriously though IF there was a picture above the fireplace.... its a 99.9% chance that it was a cheap print and not a painting called 'Picture of Mum and Dad and dodgy Welsh boyfriend in Limerick' signed MJK!

                              Suz x

                              Anna really???????? My God it was a drawing of MJK no doubt.....not a detailed face! Eek!
                              Last edited by Suzi; 03-21-2008, 12:42 AM.
                              'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'

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