'Eurydice Floating into Hell'

A male figure reaches towards a female figure who is being pulled into raging clouds

In Greek mythology, Orpheus rescued his wife Eurydice, after her death from a snake bite, by charming the rulers of the Underworld with his skill at playing the lyre. Eurydice would be released from death if Orpheus led her back up to the mortal world without once looking at her. At the very portals of the Underworld Orpheus was overcome with a desire to see his wife, and she was lost to him.

Romney's two cartoons on this subject were probably made shortly after November 1780. It was then that Lord Chancellor Thurlow began sitting for his portrait, and it was Thurlow who suggested the subject to Romney and translated for him the passage in Virgil's Georgies describing the episode.