'The Stool of Repentance'
An inked inscription verso in a period hand reads; 'The Stool of Repentance, or, Young Muller with Old Briggs' hat! Contemplating in solitude what he has done.'
This is a humorous reference to a sensational murder which occurred on the evening of 9 July 1864. A senior bank clerk by the name of Mr Thomas Briggs boarded a train at Fenchurch Street station on his way home to Hackney. When the train reached its destination, however, there was no sign of Mr Briggs. The now blood-soaked compartment contained only his ivory-topped walking stick, his empty leather bag and a battered hat that wasn't his. The unconscious Mr Briggs was later found by the rail tracks, and died a short while later. The search for his own hat - and his pocket watch - led detectives to a young German tailor named Franz Müller, who had by now absconded to New York. He was pursued, brought back for trial and convicted of murder, the first on a British train. He was publicly hanged outside Newgate Prison on 14 November 1864.