Artist: Severino Baraldi
Medium: Gouache on Board
Size: 12" x 15" (310mm x 390mm)
Date: 1980This is the original Gouache painting by Severino Baraldi.
Cock Lane is a short alleyway adjacent to London's Smithfield Market and the story centred on three people: William Kent, a usurer from Norfolk, Richard Parsons, a parish clerk, and his daughter Elizabeth. Following the death of his wife Elizabeth Lynes during childbirth, Kent had become romantically involved with her sister, Fanny.
The couple were prevented by canon law from marrying, but moved to London, where they lodged at a property owned by Parsons. While there, reports were made of strange knocking sounds and ghostly apparitions. Fanny became pregnant and the couple moved out, at which point the knocking sounds ceased, but she later died of smallpox. About 18 months later Parsons claimed that his property was haunted by Fanny's ghost.
The haunting appeared to centre around his eldest daughter, Elizabeth. A commission, whose members included Samuel Johnson, investigated the matter, and it concluded that the supposed haunting was a fraud. Further investigations proved that the scam was being perpetrated by Elizabeth Parsons, under duress from her father. The conspirators were prosecuted, and Richard Parsons was pilloried, and sentenced to two years in prison.Severino Baraldi biography