The subject is taken from Saint Augustine's 'Confessions' (Book 9), and depicts Saint Augustine and his mother Saint Monica discussing the Kingdom of Heaven. Shortly afterwards Saint Monica died.
This is one of several replicas of Scheffer's most popular picture. The original, finished about 1845, showed the painter's own mother as the model for Saint Monica. In this version the model is said to have been Mrs Hollond, whose portrait by Scheffer ('Mrs Robert Hollond') is also in the Collection.