Welcome to my image gallery of Victorian poison, poisoners, and the poisoned!
Images of Real-life Poisoners and Poison Trials:
Below is a panoramic image of the Bravo Inquest taken from The London Illustrated Times. In 1876, Charles Bravo died of antimonial poisoning after three days of suffering. During these three days he refused to say how he was poisoned or who gave him the antimony. An inquest was held, and the both Mrs. Bravo and a disaffected housekeeper seemed likely suspects. No one, however, was ever charged with the crime.
More to come soon!
Representations of Mythological and Historical Poisoners in Victorian Art:
The images below are all by artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelite school.
In the first image, D.G. Rossetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia,” the titular subject can be seen with her poisons and potions in the background. In popular Victorian accounts, Lucretia was often characterized as a husband-poisoner, hence the image of a possible future victim or two in her mirror. Note the masculinized forearms and jawline of the figure. Lucretia was an inspiration for much Victorian literature, including Edward Bulwer’s Lucretia and George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil.
Below is “Medea” by Frederick Sandys. Here she is shown with all her alchemical and poisonous apparatuses.
This next image is another of Medea, this time with Jason in Waterhouses’s “Jason and Medea.” Again, she is shown with her magical potions (poisons?).
Another Waterhouse painting, this one featuring Medea’s sister-sorceress, Circe.
Below is another one of Waterhouse’s conceptions of Circe:
Victims of Poisoning/Suicides in Victorian Art:
Below is Wallis’s “Death of Chatterton” depicting the poisoning suicide of the Romantic poet Thomas Chatterton. Note the vial of poison on the floor near his hand.
Illustrations of Poisoners from Literature (Coming Soon!)