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Sunday, 20 February 2011

image for Unknown Sickert portrait reignites Jack the Ripper theory, links to mass murderer Peter Tobin
Detail from the self-portrait

London - (Slashers): He's long been a top Jack The Ripper suspect because of connections to the Camden Town Group - a notorious ragbag of post-Impressionist perverts, con artists and tawdry poodle fakers.

Now a previously undiscovered self-portrait of 19th century dauber Water Sickert is causing a stir - because of an uncanny facial resemblance to convicted 21st century multiple murderer Peter Tobin.

Next month the painting will be sold at auction, reigniting theories that he was the the elusive Victorian mass butcher of women.

Blind Man's Buff, a disturbing study in snake oils on canvas, is replete with symbols of sexual torture according to auctioneers charged with its sale.

Art historians said this weekend the brushstrokes and general execution are highly evocative of a previous Sickert work called The Camden Murder.

The controversial 1907 work of a local Camden hooker has the same
macabre overtones, critics reckon, as the newly discovered self-portrait.

It's sudden and unexpected emergence in the art market after nearly 80 years in the shadows sees a pre-auction estimate of £5 million before commission and taxes.

The portrait's provenance hails from Scotland and is believed to have been in the ownership of a Highland laird's family for very nearly 100 years.

Its sale forms part of a death duties agreement to offload assets in exchange for IHT settlement.

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