Walter Richard Sickert, Jack the Ripper's Bedroom

Manchester Art Gallery

Date: c. 1907
Technique: Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 40.7 cm

Sickert rented a studio in the East End of London, a notoriously rough and brutal area, as he wanted his art to convey the seediness of life. His landlady told him that she thought a previous lodger may have been infamous murderer, 'Jack the Ripper'. The horrible murders had happened close-by and this was clearly a big attraction for Sickert. His new studio inspired a series of murky interiors.

The blackness and blurred shapes in this painting make the viewer a detective. If you stare hard, pieces of furniture can be made out but the pink stroke of paint on the floor is ambiguous: it could be the effect of light from the window but perhaps is something worse.

Source 1
Source 2

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