On the Terrace
Scenes of middle-class life set in ancient times had been popularised by Alma-Tadema during the 1870s. The palm leaf fan and the terrace demonstrate the artist’s knowledge of ancient domestic implements and architecture. The steps leading down to the water’s edge could suggest that the girl is waiting for a friend, or a lover. Poynter may also have intended to reflect on the futility of a life without purpose. He has used the same model as in his nearby painting Psyche in the Temple of Love.