Waterhouse's models would appear again and again, always dressed beautifully and often depicted within scenes of mythology or classical literature. The artist took some inspiration from British poets from the last century as well as the far older Greek and Roman times. He possessed a stunning ability of capturing the beauty of women and also their delicate clothing, which has helped to build up a strong following globally since his passing. Whilst being very much on the outskirts of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, his name is perhaps the most famous amongst all of those connected to this group.
In this scene Lamia looks at her reflection in a pond whilst wearing a small pink dress which appears delicate and soft. She has a small blue piece of embroidered cloth (some have suggested this to be snakeskin, but that is not confirmed) which she holds dearly around her midrift. With the work of Waterhouse, there is normally meaning to these compositional additions, but what might they be here? Many of this artist's paintings feature innocent, slim women wandering around by themselves within healthy looking forests. He may have studied French art in depth and also been brought up, in his very early years, in Italy, but his style was ultimately very British.
This painting based on Lamia is the second version on this topic, with the earlier Lamia coming in 1905 - that painting places her alongside a young man equipped with full armoury. We find small snakeskin in both scenes and further research have found these inclusions to be highly significant. Lamia is also the name of a character within a John Keats poem from 1820 where she lures young men with the image of a young beauty before transforming into a lethal half-serpent and preying on these mistaken gentlemen. The snakeskin provides our only subtle clue as to what is about to happen and only those aware of the literature involved in this painting would have picked up on that.