The young lady in this oil painting can be interpreted to illustrate the whole of nature, since each aspect of it can be clearly seen in this artwork. She is nestled at its heart, symbolised by the diversity in the landscape. The artist didn't casually pick the background; however, deliberately depicted the key mythological elements of nature like caves, mountains, field, forests, and streams. Instead of being a nymph only relating to one element, she encompasses all of them. The pink and blue fabric she is wrapped in reflects the colours of the mountains behind her. The dark mauve or pale purple sash seen around the waist is comparable with an umbilical cord linking her to the earth (her mother) and as a result of that to the painting's viewers as well.
Listening to My Sweet Pipings is a great example of John William portraying through body juxtaposition and facial expression a sense of inner confusion. The woman’s eyes don't look directly at the viewers, but are rather filmed over as she glares off into her own thoughts. Also, the same blur look can be seen in William's artworks of Ophelia and in the depictions of the Lady of Shallot. And the mythical Pan (god), with eyes directed on his companion, attempts to occupy her mind through soothing music. The author of J.W Waterhouse, Peter Trippi, make known in the catalogue raisonné of the painter's work that John William took the title of this painting from Shelly's Hymn of Pan, in which the sylvan god pipes the earth to sleep.
Listening to My Sweet Pipings was originally shown in 1911 at the Royal Academy along with The Charmer. The two artworks depict the great power music can hold over us. It's no wonder that the paintings were purchased from the talented artist by Alec P. Henderson, a loyal patron to John William and collected a number of important artworks of his time including Briar Rose Series by Edward Coley Burne-Jones. John William took inspiration from both the Classical and Pre-Raphaelite artists and his work is distinguishable from other painters of the Romantic era. Waterhouse used several artistic techniques in order to create both realism and beauty in his works. The painter's work was mainly in oils and canvases consists of nature and realistic settings. His fascination with the female tale and beautiful heroines is unquestionable, which he portrayed using beautiful light, vivid colour schemes, and symbolism.