Twins – 27 January 2020

Here is a portrait of the ‘identical twins’, Kate and Grace Hoare. How alike are they? Well, look first at their clothes, although their dresses are the same, they have accessorised them differently, and one sister holds a riding whip, the other her hat. One has a center parting in her hair, the other not. Now look carefully at their faces, what do you see there of their different personalities?

Kate Hoare (left) was a confident and outgoing young woman. Grace Hoare (right) was more hesitant and socially reticent. Something of these differences can be seen in the painting.

To represent these young women and discern their differences, the artist had first to pay attention to the young women themselves. Then he had to paint carefully to do justice not just to their appearance, but to their characters.

This artistic process is an example to us, encouraging us to pay close attention to those we see and meet, and if we are ever required to represent or describe them, to do this with great care. None of us are easily known.

The picture is by John Everett Millais (1876), and hangs in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.


To be known is to be heard
through ears around the world
to be known is to be seen
by everyone in any way they please
Most people wish for this
to be known
be seen
be heard
but I wish to be secret
to hide away my words
a simple line in verse
is all I’m willing to give
why must I tell more?

Vanessa Feliciano

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12