A previously unknown painting by Walter Sickert – the artist believed by author Patricia Cornwell to be Jack the Ripper – is set to fetch up to £60,000 when it goes under the hammer next month.
The work, entitled The Blind Sea Captain, has only emerged once before – with no title except a label on the back – at an exhibition 80 years ago.
Sickert, who Patricia Cornwell has investigated at length and named as the serial killer, was notorious for his paintings of nudes.
Four of these were controversially entitled The Camden Town Murder, after a well publicised and gruesome murder of a prostitute in 1907.
But this gained him attention and he became a prominent member of the Camden Town Group of artists.
The Blind Sea Captain is far more sentimental in theme, but in the outbreak of World War One it would have been an appropriate subject for Sickert.
It is thought to have been painted during the summer of 1914 in Dieppe, France, and is described by Bonhams as ‘typical of Sickert’s proficiency as a master of mood and allusion.’
Wendy Baron,who has devoted her life to studying Sickert’s work, was astounded to find a painting by him that she had never seen.