The composition featured here displays a single female figure lying on a small carpet whilst playing with a number of white feathers which float in the air above her. We find a whole plethora of detail around the painting which delivers the atmosphere and setting as desired by the artist. It is a classical setting, perhaps Greek or Roman, and Waterhouse worked in this manner many times during this part of his career. Later on he would start to call upon the influence of British literature which would naturally transition his work into alternative tones of green and brown as he started to replace marble and stone architecture with British forests and gardens. This earlier piece, Dolce Far Niente, is more in line with the work of Lawrence Alma Tadema who stuck to this style throughout his career, and would actually influence Waterhouse, having arrived some years earlier.

The painting is also sometimes known as The White Feather Fan, as each of the feathers floating in the air has been taken from the lady's fan. She is joined within the painting by a black vase with sunflower, the highly decorative carpet which spreads across a part of the marble floor and also some additional cloths which provide a little comfort against the harsh surface of the floor. Additionally, there is a small pot which hangs from the top of the painting and also some hanging curtains which help to provide some intimacy between different rooms. There is also some tiled patterns and a solid marble or stone pillar which reaches up vertically and provides some balance for this painting. The lady herself and the carpet on which she lies down is carefully angled to provide a small sense of perspective as we looker deeper into the painting from foreground to background.

In terms of Tadema, who would inspire this period in Waterhouse's career, some of his best achievements would be the likes of An Oleander, At Aphrodite's Cradle and A Silent Greeting. He attempted to be just as precise as he could in terms of the content that he added within these classical settings, where as other artists based in the UK may not have been as concerned about this and used large amounts of artistic licence as a result. There were phases of different movements over the past few centuries which have been fashionable for some time, encouraging artists to work in that way for a number of years before the fashion changes again and attention on their work starts to fade away. Waterhouse was forced to alter his direction, where as Alma Tadema was around a little earlier and so was able to carry on with this style throughout his career.