Thursday, 15 November 2007

The coach and horses


Perhaps one of the most intriguing of Walter Sickert's secret untitled sketches.

In the late 19th Century, Special Branch agents reportedly disguised themselves as cabdrivers as a means of disguising Secret Police business in and around London. Chief Inspector Littlechild , head of Covert Operations at Section d Special Branch Scotland Yard recommended it personally, as a good, efficient means of carrying out spy operations. Top SpB agents dressed as cab drivers in order to effectuate spy business in London. According to the current Special Branch Officer Lindsay Clutterbuck's angle on the 1894 Littlechild, expressed in his thesis in 1998:

'In order to minimize the risks of discovery when on surveillance, the use of disguise was employed by detectives. Littlechild states that its use was disapproved of by some of his colleagues, perhaps as a result of the Popay case and its aftermath or for other, more practical reasons. However, he personally found it most useful...he gives several examples of the disguises he used and the reasons behind their selection ; dressing as a curate disarms suspicion, whilst access to premises can be readily gained when disguised as a Serveyer or Sanitory Inspector. A Cabman is a familiar sight throughout London but sometimes something more specialized was required:-

"So I made up by selecting a 'wardrobe cap' and spotted scarf, to be lightly tied round my neck, and the other essentials of the Whitechapel rig-out. My face I left unshaven for a week or two, and in such natural disguise- which you will see does not correspond atall with theatrical ideas upon the subject- I beagn to frequent the street market."

Littlechild, 1894, pp82 '

Back Street rebels often made the most of this efficient, mobile disguise. As did the Stuarts , it seems, as part of a Secret Arrangement in Cleveland Street and Whitechapel.



Above: an example of the classic cab, used to ferry people around central London during the late Victorian era.


And above, one of the more mundane, one horse cabs.

Intriguingly, the artist does seem to be referring to a more sophisticated coach, if we evaluate the driver's position in the sketch.

hhhmmmm ;-)

Have fun.

*****

These secret pictures are a part of my findings. Walter Sickert drew, and hid, these wonderful pictures. I think this is one beautiful artist. What is clear, is that in Sotheby's terms, the discoveries are way beyond priceless. As is this story we love.
No one's evidence is worth more than Walter Sickert's.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

The article in the Evening Standard 1888

Herewith one of the key secrets at the heart of the Jack the Ripper murders. On it, there is evidenced Mary Kelly', final ripper victim's, recorded last words. 'Pray for help...'



Kelly's Library

The Informal Postal Service at number 21, Cleveland Street,1888.

In late nineteenth century London, lovers and back street rebels, and Irish Fenian confederates alike avoided sending love letters or other types of secret or unlawful correspondence via the Official Post Office, which was constantly subject to surveillance by Special Branch detectives and officials. Instead of entrusting a letter to an official Post Office worker or telegraph boy, they preferred to arrange for it to be handled by a private courier who worked for an 'unofficial post office’. These unofficial post offices were arranged discreetly inside a privately owned commerce such as a tobacconists, or curiosity shop. (usually a tobacconists.)

There'd be a little letter cabinet just in front of the shop counter; sometimes hidden discreetly behind. Victorian gentlefolk would entrust a letter destined for a lover to a courier, who'd leave it at the shop counter. A trusted shop assistant would file it carefully away under its intended recipient’s name where it would remain until he or she walked in under the pretext of purchasing e.g. some tobacco, and discreetly collect it.

These arrangements could be flexible. Precise arrangements tended to depend upon exactly how secret the correspondence arrangement had to be. People went to great lengths to avoid being discovered. Sometimes middlemen 'couriers' were used between a courier and an informal little post office; at times, couriers would collect letters as well as deliver them.

In the 1880's, gentlemen frequenting Fitzrovia, in the West End of London, relied on an informal 'Post Office' arrangement inside a little tobacconist's at no. 21 Cleveland Street to handle their communications. This is the Special Branch secret relating to Cleveland Street at the heart of the Jack the Ripper murder story.

A reliable shop girl, Annie Crook, who worked behind the counter, took letters from local couriers and filed them in a little cabinet, where they remained until their intended recipients ( or their recipient's couriers) came in to collect them. Prince Albert (Victor Christian) Edward, known locally as Eddy, used the service to send letters to 'Mary Kelly', his lover and friend of several years.

The 'unofficial post office' inside the little tobacconist’s at number 21, Cleveland Street, West London, was one of the most popular. Its regulars, among them Prince Eddy and the B troop tenth Hussars, called it 'Kelly's Library'. These men would frequent the notorious brothel at no. 19 Cleveland Street. As did 'Eddie', Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward.

Using the Personal Columns in the 'Standard' Newspaper.

Corresponding lovers using informal and secret Post Office arrangements almost always had a familiar, code name for the one they used. The one at the little tobacconists at Cleveland Street was called 'Kelly's Library'. There were familiar names for secret post offices all over the city.

Regulars used newspaper personals at the back of the daily papers, the Standard in particular, to alert one another to letters waiting for them at e.g. 'Kelly's Library' , (their codename for the 'Informal Post Office.') After entrusting a letter to their courier, they'd head down to the offices of a local newspaper such as the 'Standard', have a quiet word with a reliable newspaper office assistant and ask him/her to put a discreet notice in the newspaper's back-page personal columns, such as ' A letter awaits you, Kelly's Library.' To identify themselves to their lover, they'd make sure the message destined for the personal columns referred to an aspect of their 'affair'.

Those taking great care to be as discreet as possible, e.g the Cleveland Street aristocrats, would often oblige their couriers/messengers to get down to the newspaper offices and place a message in the personal columns on their behalf, stating that 'a letter was waiting their lover' at 'whichever informal post office'. The courier/messenger delivering letters was usually known to the couple personally, and would often sign his or her own name on the message destined to appear in the paper eg. 'There's a letter for you at Kelly's Library. Polly' etc. This type of arrangement was more discreet, most of the time, but a strong relationship of trust with the courier was needed.

Prince Eddy, who frequently signed 'ALBERT EDWARD', as the world knows, is considered to have been absent from London on the dates of the Whitechapel murders, known colloquially as the 'Jack the Ripper' murders. Contemporary Court Circulars and numerous witnesses evidence his activity elsewhere well enough. During the days prior to the 29th September 1888, the night of the double murders of Mary Kelly and Elizabeth Stride, ( Killed in the early hours of the 30th September) he managed to get a letter destined for his lover Mary Kelly to his friend Walter Sickert. On Thursday the 27th, 1888, Walter gave it to his friend 'Kittie', (Catharine Eddowes/Kelly), Prince Eddy and Mary's courier. She in turn was to deliver it to ' a middleman' who was supposed to leave it at the Counter at no. 21 Cleveland Street, 'Kelly's Library’.

This middleman turned out to be Chief John Littlechild, Special Branch police, who assassinated her. He'd intercepted Catharine ('Kitty's) movements.There were a number of assassins in the group. Littlechild, as we've seen, had trained Catharine 'Kitty' personally.

Before delivering the letter destined for Mary, Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes was to leave a message with the 'Standard' Newspaper on the Prince's behalf, which would inform Mary Kelly that a letter was waiting for her at 'Kelly's Library'. She'd sign the message 'Kitty', as usual. She'd give the name Kitty to the reception at the Standard.

The photograph I enclose here shows a little clipping from the Personals in the Standard newspaper dated 5th October 1888, which the Newspapers printed seven days after the world famous 'double event': the night Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes and Elizabeth Stride were killed in the early hours in the Whitechapel back streets by "Jack the Ripper". It was long contained in the archives relating to Cheif John Littlechild, head of Special Branch covert operations. The little cutting contains a series of personal notices . It's from the 'Jack the Ripper' case files, and was once the property of Special Branch, Scotland Yard; in particular, of one Chief John Littlechild, head of Covert Operations at Scotland Yard, 1888.

One message on the tiny little cutting shown enlarged above refers to 'Kelly's Library', the tobacconist's at no. 21, Cleveland Street.

'A letter awaits you, Kelly's Library. KITTIE.'

This message was trusted to the 'Standard' newspaper on the 28th September, (the Friday before Friday 5th October) by Jack the Ripper victim courier Catharine Eddowes, who signed her name 'Kitty'.

'Kitty' Eddowes had intended Mary Kelly, intended recipient of the said letter from 'ALBERT EDWARD', to see the little personal notice later on that week, prior to the day on which it was eventually printed, Friday 5th October. Catharine 'Kitty' missed the 29th September 1888 Saturday print. She left a message at the Standard Newspaper on the afternoon of the 28th, before going to meet a 'middleman' on the night of the 29th/30th, to deliver Prince Eddy's letter.

Prince Eddy also went to the Standard during the week prior to the 29th September, the night of the historically infamous double murders. History may have been very different, had he not . As you see. The little clipping from the personals column also contains a message from a gentleman who signs himself in capital letters 'ALBERT EDWARD’. This is the signature used by both the Prince of Wales and the Wales' son, Prince 'Albert Victor Christian Edward'. His message reads:

'Time flies. We are drawing nearer together every day. How I long for the time. ALBERT EDWARD.'

'Kittie' (Catharine Eddowes') message, along with Albert Edward's, appeared in the Standard on the 5th October, six days after the Prince's courier, Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes , was intercepted and killed by Section d Special Branch agents while attempting to deliver a letter to a middleman she'd supposed would be an acquaintance.

On the little extract from the Standard personals column 5th October 1888, there appears a message from Mary Kelly, who went along to The Standard during the week after Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes' death- . She probably went down on the 2nd October- to the Standard, to leave a message. 'Last saw you in a window in May', she writes -for 'Albert Edward', identifying herself without betraying her name. She apparently refers to the Cleveland Street raid, when Annie Crook, kidnapped from Cleveland Street by Special Branch, who we now see oversaw the letter arrangement at Cleveland Street, was forcibly removed by Special Branch officials. She was consequently tortured by Sir William Gull, working privately for SB, for information on 'Kelly's Library.' (The secret letter arrangement).

Clearly, after the night of the double murders, Mary's perceived that her lover's plans have been interfered with by people who've tracked down the lovers' 'informal letter arrangement' and killed their main courier, Catharine 'Kittie' Eddowes; ( actually known as 'Kitty') her friend, as well as her close friend and neighbor, Elisabeth Stride, who was killed very soon after collecting a parcel from a gentleman.: The documents that actually have been released into the public domain - a select few as usual-evidence the fact that Elizabeth Stride was seen on the night she died beside a gentleman carrying a parcel- that is a famous matter.

'Beware of false ones', Mary writes, in the personal columns; - 'but never doubt my love.' ... ' I have received neither letter or parcel.'... ' If only we could have spoken. '

It seems Mary at this stage suspected that her lover 'Albert Edward' had been betrayed. A traitor had arranged to meet, but then killed, Kitty/Catharine Eddowes. Perhaps she merely suspected that her lover's betrayer was someone who'd simply followed Eddowes' footsteps, and informed her killers about the meeting, so putting the murderers one step ahead of her dead friend. It's not clear by the message that Mary yet suspected senior Special Branch Police.

This cutting was/is contained in Chief John Littlechild's, Special Branch's, files.

Special Branch agents were following the young people's activity closely. It's clear from the fact that Special Branch retained the personal advertisements the young people left with the Standard that Mary and Eddy were intercepted by Chief Inspector John Littlechild and the Specialist Operations unit at Scotland Yard , who killed Catharine Eddowes on the early hours of the morning of the 29th September. SB arranged for Albert Edward's courier, 'Kitty' to die on the 30th September, 1888.

The Standard Newspaper offices, c 1888-90, where lovers, Irish Fenian confederates and rebels alike left messages for one another, and where couriers left messages alerting the gentry to letters awaiting them at 'Kelly's Library'.


*********

It is my belief that Special Branch are currently liaising with the Superintendents of Thames Valley and the Met, in order to conceal these revelations unlawfully, (on my hard drives and elsewhere) and to corruptly repress evidence revealing the lost King, Mary Kelly's and Albert ( Victor Christian) Edward's child. This action has enabled people to produce false allegations, which they have all rushed to promote.

But I'm onto it, and I have been for some time ;-)

'Kelly's Library' is the name of my forthcoming book, all rights reserved.

The National Archives are complicit in the concealment with Special Branch.

I believe their pretense at the public interest( SB and the National Archives) is false. For a start, there is no legal reason to conceal the documents. They are quite obviously, legally, public property. They do not have the right to try to interfere with my photos and work on my hard drive. I believe their pretense at their respect for the Royal family is false. Surely the current royal family will be keen to find the identity of the lost heir, a member of the lost royal family; who it appears had no children; surely they would be keen to find out what happened to the favorite son of the Queen Alexandra, and his pretty Irish lover, Mary Kelly, ultimate Jack the Ripper victim. S B killed the lover's messengers, then Mary Kelly. There were a number of people involved.

Mary Kelly had strong Fenian connections; she was a Stuart. This was the Security Services' excuse. And a disgusting excuse it was.

It always is. Especially where Ireland is concerned.

A disgusting excuse.

The entire analysis of this matter, is copyright Felicity Jane Lowde. Thankyou.

Catharine and John Kelly


Catharine and John Kelly.


Here are the Special Branch documents demonstrating John Kelly and Catharine Kelly, SB records on the JtR victim otherwise known as Catharine Eddowes, and her husband John Kelly, who, as recorded in the documents available in the public domain, lived in the East End of London as 'John and Catharine Kelly' during the period the Special Branch assassinations known colloquially as the 'Jack the Ripper' murders took place.

Observe that the couple are working for Spymaster Jenkinson, Under Secretary. They are recorded in the book as members of the 'Jenkinson Spy ring'. Catharine Eddowes/Kelly is recorded as making a statement on the Fenian murder of one McDoughty; her husband, John, is receiving a file on Fenian assassination activity from Jenkinson himself.

This was standard, they are members of the hitherto undisclosed and much sought after 'Jenkinson Spy Ring'.

Catharine Eddowes, central Jack the Ripper victim, was in the process of Betraying Jenkinson and Littlechild on the night she died. She was well known to Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, the evidence suggests. She was protecting a little boy known to SB as 'King of the Fenians', offspring of Mary Kelly, final Jack the Ripper victim, and Prince AVCE.

I like this woman, very clever girl. Unique, I think. If it wasn't for one mistake, not on her part, she'd have
done it.

Observe the Secret Service references. The documents are also full of Littlechild's, Anderson's and the others' spy activities in and around the locations of the J t R murders.

Now charge me with Official Secrets disclosure, or stop this persecution. In my opinion, legally, this information should have been made available to the public: this is
archive material.

King of the Fenians at Goodwood


I want you to look carefully at this archive photograph: 'King of the Fenians said to be at Goodwood.'

That's 'King of the Fenians'.

An unambiguous term.

This Secret Service information pertains to a little boy, the offspring of Mary Kelly, young woman at the heart of the Ripper case, and the young prince known as 'Eddy'.. Which evidence Special Branch have threatened to destroy. Observe the file references.


It is archive evidence and inasmuch, it should have been made available to the public.

The Lady with the Rose


Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Louise Burckhardt), 1882 John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925) Oil on canvas; 84 x 44 3/4 in. (213.4 x 113.7 cm) Bequest of Valerie B. Hadden, 1932 (32.154). The white rose stood for the Stuart associations and societies, very fashionable among the aristocracy in the 1880's.

Carnations and Roses


Walter Sickert, Oscar Wilde, Prince Eddy and their artistic acquaintance who enjoyed 'slummin it' in the west and east End of London formed a part of the romantic, aesthetic set. The 'romantics' were an integral part of the 1880's era. Dandies in their top hats, gents 'slumming it' in the East end, romantic advertisements in newspapers left by the aristocratic gents who arranged rendezvous with their secret acquaintance....the 'students of the butterfly.'

To ignore this aspect of the era is to overlook the lost époque, without a true understanding of which the 1888 Whitechapel murder case cannot be solved. Elisabeth Stride, fourth J t R victim, who died on the night of the Jack Rip 'double event murders', was seen just over ten minutes before she died, by one PC Smith, talking with a man carrying a parcel, holding in her hand, a red flower- evidently from the man. Red and white, by his description; 'red outside, white inside'...possibly a gentleman's carnation. This fact is world famous, though the rose is rarely referred to directly by modern authors and film makers. Superintendent Swansen considered it a very important piece of evidence, and referred to it as a rose. Elisabeth, by the evidence, was to deliver this parcel to Mary Kelly. Mary Kelly and her people. Minutes later she was intercepted and killed, still outside the Berner Street club, which, by the Special Branch documents, was a rendezvous meeting place for an extraordinary conglomeration of people from the highest to the lowest classes, all of whom were considered rebels in the face of the prevalent government and Security Services.....

The rose ( or carnation) is relevant. It is evidence. The modern analysts, who object ferociously to any paradigm shift, refute this for its own sake. Anything remotely touching the popular Romanticism of the English era flies into the face of their theories and demonstrates that since the first, mistaken 'conspiracy theory' that emerged consequent to the Jack Rip murders they have taken the wrong path in refuting the involvement of royalty and aristocracy in East end Whitechapel.


I explore Swansens' and PC Smith's evidence at some length in my thesis, which also explores the significance of the Berner Street club, and the extent of its Fenian and rebel goings on. The Berner Street Club outside which Elisabeth Stride was killed by a slashing of the throat was of the greatest importance to Jenkinson, Anderson and Melville from a serveillance point of view. Melville and Littlechild themselves regularly operated there as spies undercover.


Bedstead

Below: 'The Iron Bedstead', c 1906. The period may only be vaguely defined. In my opinion the date is much earlier. Iron bedsteads from hospitals, maternity units and the oh so unalike homely and suggestive big brass bedsteads, are major themes in Walter Sickert's work. They respectively infer the confinement of Annie Crook, 'La Giuseppina' ( The 'Josephina' ) and the series of torture she endured at the hands of William Gull and Section d Special Branch, and the pregnancy and development of 'La Carolina', usually the one lain down on the 'big brass bed' ..she's usually a direct reference to Mary Kelly.

The temptation at the sight of the sketch below is to instantly compare 'the little room' to Mary Kelly's little rented place at no. 13, Miller's Court, where incidentally she never lived; this was a room rented out for clandestine meetings. There is one striking comparison however: the bolster on the bed, which appears to be made from a tightly rolled mattress, is lain in the same place as the identical tightly rolled 'mattress bolster' on Mary Kelly's bed, in the authentic forensic pictures. This reference appears to be beyond coincidence.


Look at the woman lain out on the bed, bearing that in mind. She seems lifeless, as though lying in some type of a wrapped sheet, or 'shroud.' Her slender feet protrude from beneath the end of the sheeting; her face seems to have been covered by a shawl, such as Mary was described wearing by the key witness, on the night she died. This 'iron bedstead' where the dead Mary Kelly's form conceivably lies, is seen from a gentleman's writing desk, upon which a Victorian gent would of course write his letters. (Click to enlarge.)




Walter Sickert intended us to focus on the enshrouded woman lying on the bed, rather than the perspective.....on this occasion. Here below, the corresponding 'Gallery Painting' ; 'Theatre de Monmartre', (no alternative title available) circa 1906; it first saw the light of day in 1924, when it was purchased from the Goupil Gallery by Lord John Maynard Keynes. Last exhibited by its current owners the Fitzwilliam Musuem in 1983. ( Click to enlarge.)




The above oil painting 'Theatre de Monmantre' was painted at the same time as 'La Gaiete Rauchuart' , in which we see Prince Eddy, Mary and young Jo in the Gallery box, and the stage singer in her red dress and her eighteenth century bustle reflected in the mirror behind them. That's the 'Courtesan' picture, where Eddie and Mary seem to be 'Up in the Gallery' (click to review). . Sickert tells us as much in a letter to William Rothenstein written in 1906; ' I want another fortnight here to finish four or five pictures as good Noctes Ambrosianae, only red and blue plates, instead of black ones. The Eldorado, The Gaiéte Rochechouart, the Theatre de Monmantre..' We may accordingly assume a deliberate association on his part between the three pictures he mentions here, and further, that they are probably a part of an intended series.


The oil painting 'Theatre de Monmantre' usually receives scant comment from the critics, perhaps because in it we see at a glance the case that they all so eagerly avoid. The 'Jack the Ripper' inferences. Here, in this painting, the players are all 'up in the gallery'. ....their faces , 'painted a s slippery blobs of ochres and browns, accentuated by darting jabs of black...resemble grotesque masks...' Yet they're animated; they watch a play played out, on stage. Still this painting does not depict a tender and beautiful Irish/Jacobite awakening; there's no prophet, no lively singer, no song. They're dead. We have the enshrouded , the lost, the waiting.


There's an expressly perverse, yet touching picture of the dead, lifted, enshrouded Mary Kelly, wearing the same lovely hat (minus feather) that she wears in 'La Gaiete Rauchuart' , her mutilated body wrapped in a sheet, just as it appears when lain on the bed in the sketch 'The Iron Bedstead' above; and she sits, mutilated remains wrapped in her 'bloody sheet', on Catharine Kitty Eddowes' knee. It is 'Kitty Eddowes'. Sickert paints Catharine's mutilated mouth exactly as it appears in Catharine Eddowes' forensic pictures ( now held in the National Archives.) And would you look at that lovely brimmed hat that Kitty has above her mutilated face with its widely slashed throat.. That's our Kitty.


The scene going on behind Mary and Kitty's seats is just as interesting. Sickert infers the gallery box boldly displayed in the paintings mentioned above, yet two or three players now sit or stand beneath a clearly Parisian box-canopy.


Yes, it's them... the guardians who looked after little 'Jo'- who is inferred -the little boy in the cap that looks like a cricket cap-in the 'Old Beford' sketches (click to review.) Look at the manner in which the gent in standing position, in the top gallery box, bends forward a little; this is the exact stance taken by the guardian beside 'Jo' in the gallery boxes surrounded by the figures that evoke the little putti in the Vatican (cherubs.)


Jacobite art 'mirror inference'? Yes, there is a treacherous looking bowler hatted figure lurking inside the mirror top left, far left hand corner of the painting, and yes, there is the suggestion that this rather devious looking figure is surreptitiously surveying the figures on the balcony.



Readers familiar with the casework will already recall that one of the key issues in the Doctor's notes and forensic evidence relating to Mary Kelly's Inquest that distances her forensic evidence from the other undisputed 'Jack the Ripper' victims is her missing heart. The absence of the heart was reported by Dr. Bond, Police Doctor who carried out an examination of her corporal remains at 11.00 am on the morning after her murder 9th of November, 1888.


Mary Kelly's forensic detail is a matter that Walter Sickert associates with the 'Jacobite mirror '... forensic detail that he takes perhaps most seriously of all. In his celebrated self -portrait, 'The Painter in His Studio' or 'The Parlor Mantelpiece' , c. 1907, he communicates the depth and extent of his concern with Mary Kelly's mystery and her remains (which visibly extend beyond an artist's academic interest in crime).


In that painting (below) he depicts himself confronting the viewer, conveying profound empathy with the suspicion and grief that he intimates might be expressed by witnesses to the fact that Mary Kelly probably was assassinated. He projects a statue of Botticelli's Venus, ( to the left of the picture) with its limbs severed- in almost exactly the way in which limbs appear to be severed and desecrated in the Special Branch forensic photographs of Mary Kelly (that were not available to the public except through one scarce French publication in 1907). Behind the violated image of Botticelli's beauty, a mirror, into the frame of which someone appears to have tucked a love-letter. A letter envelope.... a letter, I would say. There appears to be a reciprocating letter tucked in the other mirror on our right.


In the picture (below) we see a reflection of Walter Sickert, looking into the mantelpiece mirror. Note the edge of the painting frame at the far left of the picture. ( he doesn't make it instantly apparent- then again, that's not unusual..) In the reflected painter's right hand, the painter's left hand, ( as shown here) a painter's brush and palette; in the reflection's left, a white rose, emblem of the Stuart Order of the Rose.






Walter Sickert's ability to depict contra-jour, illumination and reflected light are among the talents that best define his personalized genius. Most of us struggle to define any type of light, whatever the paint mix: this painter uses paint to create light that conveys insight, precious moments sealed of human memory; emotion.. longing... Here though, the the light he portrays is restricted to highlighting the face of the painter and the ruin of Botticelli's Venus 'with deliberate, constructive intent.' (Wendy Baron 1992.)


A scarce few have remarked that the heap of what looks like body matter situated between the two statue icons evokes the human entrails placed on a table to the left of Mary Kelly's murdered body, in the forensic photograph. It does; there's a thinly disguised play on the shape of a female heart amidst the flesh like amalgamation, (distorted a little, for impression's sake). The heart shape amid the body matter might demonstrate an attachment to the 'pericardia', reaching a little way into the air, stemming from a slender heart shape similar to the one upheld by the putto on Clementina's monument. But it is not vivid for comparison. It seems to be topped with some sort of attached body matter, such as a roughly detached heart may be, prior to being cleaned in surgery.



Referring to the image above: to the reflected painter's left (our right), in front of a smaller, parlor mirror, another statue, evocative of the maternal angle on Michelangelo's 'La Pieta' ( The Pity) , the Italian master's early sculpture, depicting Mary holding Christ's transient 'dead body' close to her own after his crucifixion. Observe the shape of the shoulder that Mary holds above the collapsed crucified limbs; observe the tilt of Christ's head. Compare the statues' limbs and its head tilt, against those in the statue to the reflected painter's left. (Our right).

The sculptured Italian masterpiece, (right) still contained in the first chapel to the right inside the Vatican directly opposite Queen Clementina's monument, is a different picture of charity, pity and the weightlessness of innocence from every angle. Sickert's carefully transposed a suggestion of its form without assaulting its uniqueness.


Behind Walter Sickert's suggestion of 'La Pieta', a mirror where another letter has been tucked inside a golden frame. A reciprocating letter. One assumes.


Walter Sickert sets the transition phase experienced by the broken hearted Christ (as depicted by Michelangelo) against the destroyed body of the gentle heiress that the Stuarts saw as personally sacred.


A closer look at Walter Sickert's painting reveals the aspect that validates the all important 'secondary title' that almost invariably infers a secret . In this case, 'The Parlor Mantelpiece'. The whole painting is a reflection in a mantelpiece mirror: this is overtly demonstrated by a) the mantelpiece mirror frame on the edge of painting on the far left and b) the reflection of the statue that evokes 'La Pieta', the reflection of which in the mirror behind it in the room is reflected in the mirror into which Walter Sickert looks, hence the 'double reflection' and c), the light painted onto the surface of the painting, which in fact suggests light on mirror glass.


Many of the objects in the picture are the kind of figurative symbols that generally appear in mirrors depicted by Sickert; such as the flesh pile and the secret, near magical suggestions surrounding the statue images.


Not to detract from the quality of the suggestion ( I do not want to do Cornwell here) but let's look (for a moment) at the contents of the painter's room when it is not reflected -which we can easily be achieved by an inversion of the painting:






Left: the picture seen from the 'Parlor mantelpiece' standpoint, looking into the room, at the painter in his studio'. There is no specific further information to be gleaned from inverting the painting except of course for an intended display of the lettering and names on the envelopes tucked inside the painted mirror frames. Or at least, emphasis on the suggestion that reciprocating love letters from 'someone' to a Catholic mother are at the heart of this affair.