A few things on this one:
This particular place must’ve had a big impact on Alice, given her better skill at drawing such a potent place.
While I do a lot of research to get particular places and settings historically accurate, researching 1800’s morgues turned even my stomach. I had not only graphic drawings and photos to reference but also a particularly descriptive piece of literature. These are selections from Zola’s Therese Raquin (1867):
When he entered the place an unsavoury odour, an odour of freshly washed flesh, disgusted him and a chill ran over his skin: the dampness of the walls seemed to add weight to his clothing, which hung more heavily on his shoulders. He went straight to the glass separating the spectators from the corpses, and with his pale face against it, looked. Facing him appeared rows of grey slabs, and upon them, here and there, the naked bodies formed green and yellow, white and red patches. While some retained their natural condition in the rigidity of death, others seemed like lumps of bleeding and decaying meat. At the back, against the wall, hung some lamentable rags, petticoats and trousers, puckered against the bare plaster. Laurent at first only caught sight of the wan ensemble of stones and walls, spotted with dabs of russet and black formed by the clothes and corpses. A melodious sound of running water broke the silence.
The morgue is a sight within reach of everybody, and one to which passers-by, rich and poor alike, treat themselves. The door stands open, and all are free to enter. There are admirers of the scene who go out of their way so as not to miss one of these performances of death. If the slabs have nothing on them, visitors leave the building disappointed, feeling as if they had been cheated, and murmuring between their teeth; but when they are fairly well occupied, people crowd in front of them and treat themselves to cheap emotions; they express horror, they joke, they applaud or whistle, as at the theatre, and withdraw satisfied, declaring the Morgue a success on that particular day.
So not only was it an odd way to conduct identifying John and Jane Does but it became a gross spectacle. Dontcha just love history? If you wish to see where I got this, here’s the full link and of course the picture from which I modeled the morgue:
Wherein the caption reads in French: “Figure 40: Interior View of the Morgue in 1855”