Sickert & the Camden Town Murder Series.
“..the sordid nature of his pictures since the Camden Town Murder made it impossible for there to be any friendship between them.” Professor Fred Brown of the Slade to Sickert.
For most people Walter Sickert’s name is likely to conjure up grotesquely looking nudes splayed across beds in crepuscular bedrooms in rachitic, rundown houses, either alone or in the company of some male watcher. These have been erroneously connected with the infamous Jack the Ripper when the “Camden Town Murder” series was actually suggested by the brutal killing of a prostitute Emily Dimmock in Camden Town in September 1907. These pictures which affronted many people and led to some artists breaking their friendship with Sickert like Fred Brown are usually considered the epitome of his anti-idealist creed which preached “gross material facts” as opposed to the elegance and meretricious glitter of painters like John Singer Sargent. Surprisingly, Sickert drew on his quiet Venetian conversation pieces made during 1903-4, but he increased the psychological tension by placing a naked female figure next to a male, clothed one. However, as one critic observes, the generalisation of the theme makes it difficult to see these pictures as illustrated murder narratives about serial killers and their victims. The so-called Camden Town Murder (Yale) was also known as “What are We Going to do for the Rent?” an indifference to naming which might indicate that “Sickert believes in the integrity of the visual character of his paintings so strongly that titles become irrelevant.” Attempts to pigeonhole these paintings into art history classifications fail miserably too. Should these puzzling pictures be regarded as genre, examples of the nude, visual eavesdropping on the relationship between the painter and his model in the studio? Perhaps as Harrison suggests, that despite the “technology of painting” which these aggressively demonstrate with their opaque brushstroke and other devices, they assert that art should be generated from the everyday people and situations in the metropolis.
 Corbett, Walter Sickert, 37.