On this day…

9 November 2009

ninth_november

‘The Ninth of November 1888’ by William Logsdail, which depicts the Lord Mayor’s procession through the streets of London. Despite the glitz and splendour of the procession’s regalia, there is something very gloomy and menacing about this painting with the dark, wet streets, the sombre clothes of the crowd and the foreboding skies above.

It’s almost as though the artist wanted to evoke the fact that only a few miles away, in a squalid, dank hovel in Whitechapel, the body of Mary Jane Kelly, the most famous and final canonical victim of Jack the Ripper had just been discovered in a state of revolting, pitiful mutilation on her bed. While looking at the painting, you can almost sense the panicked, shocked whisper running through the ragged crowd – ‘There’s been another one in Spitalfields. A young Irish girl. She was left in pieces this time…’ while all the while the drums beat out a solemn, funereal rhythm as the Lord Mayor’s procession passes slowly by.

 

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