‘The Decameron’ is a collection of 100 tales by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). A group of seven young women and three men have fled to the countryside to escape the plague in Florence in 1348. They amused themselves by each reciting one story a day for ten days. The word Decameron combines the two Greek words for ‘ten’ and ‘day’. Each day one member of the party led the group and was given a crown to signify his or her authority. Waterhouse shows the group seated together on the grass telling their tales.