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A brief encounter between: 'Vespers' and 'Eventide: a scene in the Westminster Union'

John Singer Sargent and Hubert von Herkomer

Priest with pillared building

John Singer Sargent 1856-1925, 'Vespers' 1909

Old ladies in a large bare room

Hubert von Herkomer 1849-1914, 'Eventide: a scene in the Westminster Union' 1878

Both these paintings have compositional similarities: your eye is drawn along the ground or along the floorboards away from the bottom centre of each canvas to the left middle ground; and a figure in the bottom right of each picture looks directly out at you. A weak evening light partially illuminates Herkomer's bleak interior of a London workhouse, while Sargent's Vespers, painted in Corfu and also set in early evening, features a more dazzling sun-streaked scene.