Portraits of Jack the Ripper’s victims will preview in an exhibition at Hylands house on Wednesday 9 November.
James Wilkinson, 46, from Witham, for the past two years has created original portraits of the women murdered, based on available knowledge, autopsy photographs and the descendants of the five canonical victims.
The paintings of five victims will be on display on the eve of Mary Kellys death, one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, from 6:45pm for special guests, to raise awareness of the prostitutes who lost their lives in Whitechapel, in autumn 1888, to the most renowned serial killer in history.
Mr Wilkinson who started painting at an early age, says his interest in Jack the Ripper began after he watched the 2001 film ‘From Hell’, featuring Johnny Depp, a title that gained its name after one of many letters were sent to the police from the killer, signed ‘from hell’.
Mr Wilkinson, said: “I did the paintings because the female victims had become anonymous and attention needed to be brought back to these innocent women who had been brutally murdered.”
A complex and layered account of the infamous killer, written by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, also titled ‘From Hell’, was another inspirational source that stemmed Mr Wilkinson’s interest.
To this day, the number of Jack the Ripper’s victims is still unknown but the mystery behind the case is what keeps people so fascinated.
Mr Wilkinson, said: “Jack the Ripper is always in the top ten searches on the internet because he is a mystery and they never solved all the cases he might have been involved in.’
The portraits have been framed and glossed to give an authentic appearance and Mr Wilkinson says he always includes artefacts in his paintings for originality.
The paintings have not been named but a hidden meaning and message lies behind them, allowing you to identify the victims individually.
Despite Jack the ripper carrying out such brutally on young innocent women in 1888, Mr Wilkinson said: “He produced a lot of publicity through his murders and that eventually led to a social change within the country.”
This is also one of the many reasons why Jack the Ripper is so renowned through history.
After the preview at Hylands House, Mr Wilkinson’s portraits will be on display for a week at Witham Art & Framing Centre, on Newland Street, from Saturday 13 November.