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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
__________________ Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.
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.
'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'