Two women are having an intimate discussion. Their appearance and surroundings indicate that the setting is late Classical Rome. Alma-Tadema was born in Holland and began his career painting early medieval and then Egyptian subjects. He moved to London in 1870 and began to specialise in scenes of everyday life in Ancient Rome for the British market.
He had a superb knowledge of Roman costume, hairstyles, furniture, ornaments and utensils, together with a marvellous skill in painting their different textures and surfaces. He was probably the most technically accomplished of all Victorian artists.