Murder, Mayhem, Mystery & Paint: The Disturbing Story of Walter Sickert

Wednesday 3 November 2021 at 2.00 pm

Michael Howard

Please note that the exhibition Sickert: A Life in Art is currently on show at the walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, from 


For anyone interested in the Patricia Cornwell book, Stalking the Ripper, it is currently available on BBC iPlayer here.

The lecture notes leaflet can be downloaded/printed here.



This lecture was originally planned for June 2020 but was postponed because of Covid-19

Michael is a familiar face to The Arts Society Fylde. His first visit was in November 2010, when he ran a Study Day on L.S. Lowry: A Visionary Artist. In December 2011 he gave a lecture on The Journey Of The Magi. In September 2019, we organised an excursion to his wife’s  – Ghislaine Howard – studio,  who has also lectured at The Arts Society Fylde.


Michael is President of The Arts Society Bolton and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Although retired, he continues to teach at the Manchester School of Art. He has published widely on European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his books include: L. S. Lowry: A Visionary ArtistThe Impressionists by ThemselvesThe Stations of the Cross / The Captive Figure and the award-winning dramatic interpretation and publication of material originally performed by the Zurich-based Dadaists of 1916. A New Order: An Evening at the Cabaret Voltaire. His book on Gauguin was written in association with the Gauguin Museum, Tahiti, and his book on Monet for the Musée Marmottan, Paris.  One of his most recent books concerns his wife’s life and work: The Human Touch: Ghislaine Howard. (Ghislaine is also an accredited lecturer of The Arts Society).

Michael is a practising artist, and has exhibited at the Royal Academy, the New York Art Fair and elsewhere. He is represented in Manchester Art Gallery and in many private collections both here and abroad. He has appeared on television and radio many times, and in 2004 he and Ghislaine worked the film, Degas and the Dance, which was awarded one of the prestigious Peabody awards.


Walter Sickert, one of the most celebrated of English artists working at the turn of the last century, is often considered to be ‘a painter’s painter’. The well-known crime writer Patricia Cornwell has claimed this much-loved artist was responsible for the murders attributed to the infamous Jack the Ripper. This lecture will attempt to untangle the truth of this claim following a trail of murder, mystery, mayhem and paint.  Was this much-loved, colourful and enigmatic painter Jack the Ripper? Come and judge the evidence for yourselves!


Caption: La Giuseppina, the Ring, by Walter Sickert. Wikimedia Commons