The artist used Greek literature on many occasions in his career, and does so again here. The scene we can see here is of Medea providing a magic potion for Jason, so that he can successfully complete a task given to him by her father, Aeëtes. It is part of a private collection. The signature elements of Waterhouse's paintings is all present and correct - besides the mythology there is also the light skinned muse dressed beautifully in a flowing dress, whilst the two figures sit on carefully crafted classical furniture. She has a concentrated facial expression as she carefully prepares her gift to Jason. He sits patiently whilst she fills his cup, dressed in traditional clothing for a Greek soldier.
The figures are sat outside, perhaps on a small patio garden, hence the stonework. There is a spread of plants across the back of the scene which helps to block out most of the light from the bright sky, which avoids an over-saturation of the colours in the foreground. There is a certain innocence to the style of paintings found within the Pre-Raphaelite movement which retains a great following within the UK and elsewhere in pockets of Europe and North America. Waterhouse himself was on the fringes of this group due to the timing of his career, but his work is clearly in line with the other notable members such as Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais
Medea is seen as a sorceress in most of the stories in which she appears, which is the case here as well as she puts together a complex potion to aid Jason. Jason himself appeared as the leader of the Argonauts and was famously seeking the Golden Fleece. Jason would later marry Medea, making the painting here something of a romantic scene too. Waterhouse was frequently drawn to the key figures of literature, both ancient and more recent, and our paintings section provides a full list of his best work.