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At the beginning of this century Sargent was recognised as the outstanding portrait painter in London. His latest commissions were exhibited at the Royal Academy every year. In 1902 he sent to the Academy this portrait of Mrs Leopold Hirsch, the wife of a banker in London. He also showed the three sisters 'The Misses Hunter', displayed now on the end wall of this gallery. His depiction of Mrs Hirsch was praised for its 'simplicity and dignity', and judged to be 'in the true spirit of the old masters'. It is modelled on Velasquez, and the colours of the pink dress and grey lace follow one of the greatest of Velazquez's portraits, 'Phillip IV at Fraga'.

August 2004