Victorian Morality

Convent Thoughts
'Convent Thoughts'
by Charles Alston Collins

The Religious Revival in Victorian England attempted to right the ills of society. This was particularly true with regard to the Church of England. The ministry had become a vocation which anyone could enter into without any personal religious convictions. It would be quite common for a man to choose clergy as a last resort. As well, corruptness reigned in the lives of the clergy as they had no inclination to abstain from drinking, frivolity, dancing, women, and fox hunting. Here in Collins' 'Convent Thoughts', we see a nun in deep contemplation of a passion flower.

The scene Hunt depicts here for us is seemingly a celebration of young lovers. However, as was typical for Hunt, the painting goes deeper to examine moral seriousness. The young shepherd represents church clergy which has let his flock run astray while he pays attention to the evils and frivolities of life.