The present drawing is a sketch for Alma Tadema's painting now in the Guildhall Art Gallery, London (see V. Swanson, Alma-Tadema, London, 1990, no. 111). It was commissioned by Messrs Ernest at the Royal Academy that year as no. 421, the first time that Alma-Tadema's work had appeared on its walls. Swanson refers to the painting as his most famous work made on the continent. The dance was a Spartan mimic war-dance, said to have originated with the Dorians in Crete and may have been named after King Pyrrhus.