This is one of Hughes' earliest works. The subject is taken from James Thomson's 'Seasons' (1730) and depicts the lines:
'with timid eye around
The banks surveying, stript her beauteous limbs,
To taste the lucid coolness of the flood'
(quoted in the RA 1849 catalogue)
The Pre-Raphaelite influence on the artist is highly apparent, if this early academic work is compared to one of his later paintings such as 'The Long Engagement' (1855). In this picture Hughes uses a more muted palette and there is little of the minute attention to detail which can be found in works from the 1850s.