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Henry Van der Weyde, Mr. Mansfield



Date: c. 1895
Technique: Photography

Van der Weyde was a painter who became a professional portrait photographer. In 1892 he participated in the founding of the Linked Ring Brotherhood, a group of early modernist photographers similar to the Photo-Secession in the United States.

Richard Mansfield (1857-1907) was an actor and producer. He appeared in several productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas during stints with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. But Mansfield was best known for the dual role depicted in this double exposure: he starred in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in both New York and London. The stage adaptation opened in London in 1887, a year after the publication of the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Mansfield's performance was of such ferocity that it was rumored he was questioned by Scotland Yard in connection with the notorious Jack the Ripper murders in 1888.
Mansfield was performing in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in late summer – early autumn 1888 during the time that Jack the Ripper was murdering prostitutes in London. One frightened theatre-goer wrote to the police accusing Mansfield of the murders because he could not believe that any actor could make so convincing a stage transformation from a gentleman into a mad killer without being homicidal.

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