'The Cells of Night' is one of the earliest paintings in which Collins expressed his ideas about the life of the human spirit. The human head in the foreground represents the psyche while the landscape behind, seen in dramatic recession, represents infinity. The distortion of the head symbolises the human psyche's yearning for infinity. The 'Cells' of the title refer to the multitude of organisms and natural phenomena that make up the cosmos. The breaking of dawn signifies the promise of a new world and the possibility of re-birth, important themes in Collins's work of this period.