The inclusion of a couple of lovers is a common theme throughout this artist's career and Waterhouse loved to portray his female models as elegant and innocent, following on from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites. His own style sat slightly on the fringes of that group as he made use of other influences too to create his own unique style. Waterhouse spent his very early years in Italy and also spent a lot of time studying French art of his period, and these influences were joined with the native Pre-Raphaelites to create the sort of paintings that appear here.
Waterhouse was a talented artist who could successfully capture the gentle touches of female clothing against the brute strength of the warrior's protective equipment. Her delicate outfit hangs perfectly from the lady's slim frame, common throughout all of the artist's chosen models. He would re-use his favourites on multiple occasions and so a quick browse through his paintings will lead to you spotting several of the same women many times. Mythology was also key to his career content, more so in the earlier part of his career. He also produced some art which was similar to that of Alma-Tadema early on, before later forging very much his own path.
The artist re-visited this topic with another version of Lamia that came about four years later - that scene features the Greek figure on her own. Whilst being from Greek mythology, Lamia was featured in a poem by John Keats in around 1820. It is likely that this was indeed the inspiration for this painting as it tells of the very same meeting that we find within this composition, where a chariot rider falls in love on first sight with a sweet, delicate lady. The poem reveals how she would then turn into a half-serpent and prey on this man, and the only clue to that is in her dressing at this point.