This study, dated 1885, should perhaps be seen in relation to one of the decorative cycles Burne-Jones worked on in the 1880s. In particular, the Perseus Cycle (Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie; Southampton Art Gallery) and Love and Psyche (Birmingham, Museum and Art Gallery) come to mind.
The soft allusive relief is characteristic of Burne-Jones' drawings during this decade. We should remember that from 1865 onwards he produced preliminary studies of all his figures as nudes. This academic practice was particularly recommended to him by George Frederic Watts (1877-1904).