In 1843, Etty was one of eight artists commissioned to paint a fresco in Prince Albert's new summerhouse in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. The artist was dissatisfied with his first effort in the unfamiliar medium, and made this full-scale oil sketch of a second fresco that he hoped to be allowed to paint in its place. He exhibited this sketch at the Royal Academy in 1844. The subjects of all the frescoes were taken from Milton's masque, 'Comus'. Etty's canvas, with its high yet limpid colour and masterly response to the lunette (semicircular) format, makes an interesting comparison to Lord Leighton's treatment of the same subject in the Main Hall.