Religion and the Hospital

Many visitors to the Museum love this painting of girls at prayer in the Hospital Chapel. Throughout the history of the Hospital, the children attended daily services at the Chapel, and two on a Sunday. Girls and boys would go to the same services, but sat separately. The Chapel was one of the few places where the children would regularly see (although not speak to) members of the public, who would attend Sunday services and concerts. Some former pupils of the Hospital recall their experience of singing in the chapel as a moment of pleasure and escape, which shaped a lifelong love of music.

Although it was not a religious foundation, religion was nevertheless an important part of life in the Hospital. All of the children admitted to the Hospital were baptised and confirmed into the Church of England. As part of their education, the children were regularly ‘catechised’, tested on the key beliefs of the Church of England.

About the artist

Sophia Anderson was a self-taught artist who specialised in paintings of women and children. She was raised in France but she emigrated to the United States in 1848 to escape the revolution. She met and married a British artist there, and they moved to England in 1854. Anderson enjoyed a successful career and exhibited her work at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the British Institution, amongst others. Several of her paintings were acquired for major municipal collections in the Midlands. Later in life, Anderson suffered from ill health, and moved to Capri, off Italy’s southern coast, for the warmer climate. She continued to exhibit in England and returned to Cornwall for the last years of her life.