According to Victorian Web:
Women who had given in to seduction, living a life in sin, received the name "fallen women" during the Victorian period. Though both a recognizable and sizable segment of the female population, it took some time before the fallen woman could be accepted as an allowable subject in art.(Artwork: "The Outcast" by Richard Redgrave) Share
Richard Redgrave first broached the topic with his Royal Academy exhibition of The Outcast in 1851. A melodramatic painting, it showed a father casting out his daughter and her illegitimate infant while the rest of the family weeps, pleads, or beats the wall with excessive emotion. The depiction of the girl, pretty and naive though she may be, serves to warn other young ladies to avoid temptation and ruin....
However, not every fallen woman was painted with such harsh criticism. The Pre-Raphaelites Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and Ford Madox Brown all recognized the complex emotions within the fallen woman and her situation. In Rossetti's Found, a drover discovers his former beloved, now a prostitute, slumped against a wall. The unfinished painting focuses in on the struggle between them as the man tries to lift her, but she seems both too ashamed and self-determined to go with him. The question of why she should resist him when his face is so contorted in pity and concern, forces the viewer to look at the drover's calf in the background, trapped and struggling within a web of restraints. It seems that either the woman is too entangled in her life of sin of else she refuses to be caught in the impositions of married life, represented in the net which holds the calf. At any rate, Rossetti problematizes the all-too-easy instant condemnation of the fallen woman and her motives.