A carte-de-visite portrait of Mrs. Florence Bravo, one of the main suspects in the infamous case known as ‘the Murder at the Priory’.
In 1876 a young barrister named Charles Bravo was poisoned by potassium antimony at his South London home, the Priory in Balham, sparking a case which was covered in sensation detail by the press, titillating the prurient interests of the Victorian public.
At first it was assumed that Bravo had committed suicide, since he remained strangely calm during his agonizing death, which took several days. (It is now known that this calmness is an effect of potassium antimony). Suspicion was aroused, however, at the coroner’s inquest when the court heard evidence of Mrs. Bravo earlier relationship with attending doctor, James Gully, who had performed an abortion on Mrs. Bravo. It emerged that the couple had often argued about having children – he wanted them, but after two miscarriages, she was scared that a third pregnancy might kill her.
Another suspect was the housekeeper, Mrs. Jane Cox, a widow with three children whom Bravo was about to sack to save money. It was reported that she had been evasive on the night of the murder, and that she had told police that Bravo had said he had committed suicide, her claim turning out to be untrue.
No one was ever convicted of Charles Bravo’s murder. A recent book (Death at the Priory by James Ruddick, published in 2001) argues convincingly that the murderer was Mrs. Bravo, and that Mrs. Cox must have at least covered for her, and perhaps actively helped.
Photographed by Burrows and Colton of 23, York Place, London.
condition: The print presents a certain amount of fine spotting but is otherwise in good
condition. The mount is in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
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