The Gerontologist, Vol 33, Issue 6 762-771, Copyright © 1993 by The Gerontological Society of America
Saved by the hand that is not stretched out: the aged poor in Hubert von Herkomer's Eventide: A Scene in the Westminister Union
Department of Art History, University of Washington, School of Art, Seattle 98195.
Focusing on the work of the Victorian "old age painter," Hubert von
Herkomer, this article explores how, through the production of "truth"
effects, ostensibly harmless visual representations can function to
propagate and reinforce ageist attitudes. Because it depicts the old
seamstresses who are its subject as redeemed by the work they perform,
Herkomer's painting is proved complicit with an ideology of labor which
dooms its subjects to the conditions of squalor deemed necessary to the