The late 19th century was a golden age for English sculpture, with a movement known as "The New Sculpture".
The French sculptor Jules Dalou, who had taken refuge in England, trained many pupils there, including Alfred Drury. When his master returned to Paris, Drury followed him and became his principal assistant. But he also led his own career with considerable success. In 1898, he submitted sketches for a statue to decorate a square in Leeds in central England. The main statue of the Black Prince was to be surrounded by statues holding lamps. Drury made two figures, Morning and Evening. This bust, Spirit of the Night, is a later version of an initial study for Evening. The facial features recall the art of Dalou, but the closed eyes, and concentrated, inward-looking expression are typical of the Symbolist movement and Art Nouveau.