Many of Waterhouse's outdoor scenes feature classical architecture in a similar way to the work of Lawrence Alma Tadema and his models would all follow the same pattern of being tall, slim and elegantly dressed. In fact the red dress worn here maybe the same one featured in other paintings at around this time.
Whatever the setting, Waterhouse would adorn his scenes with many additional items, which in this case are a couple of exotic animals who sleep aside Ariadne. There is also the expected flurry of flowers that can be found in many of his paintings and the overall atmosphere is one of relaxation and comfort.
Waterhouse was an intriguing artist who arrived at around the end of the Pre-Raphaelite movement but implemented many of their ideas into his own work, along with inspiration from other sources such as Victorian literature as well as older mythology. His style was to depict feminine portraits in a calming atmosphere and was particularly popular during his own lifetime. He regularly exhibited new work at the Royal Academy and would later become an associate there.
The model found in this painting would have been identified by notes left by the artist whenever he made use of a new subject. If this was her first time posing for Waterhouse, then the notes would have been included on the back of this painting - otherwise art historians would need to backtrack through his career in order to find the point at which she first appeared. She may also have appeared in some of his many study drawings.