In 1888 Sir Edward Poynter proposed Crane as a member for the Old Watercolour Society. Crane recalls in An Artist's Reminiscences: 'Being duly elected as an Associate I exhibited that year 'Flora' and 'Pegasus', both of which ultimately found homes out of this country- one in Germany, and one in Belgium.' (op. cit., p. 321).
In Greek mythology, Pegasus was the enigmatic winged horse created upon the beheading of the Gorgon Medusa by Perseus, when her blood mixed with the foaming sea. Pegasus was thus raised by the Muses at Mount Helicon, where the goddess Athena tamed the horse and gave him to Perseus so that he could rescue his lover, Andromeda. Here, Crane depicts Perseus and Pegasus in a striking and dynamic configuration, with Perseus nude except for his helmet, striding forward draped in a billowing sheet. Pegasus rears theatrically on his hind legs with his rainbow hued wings extended, as he is led forward by Perseus.
Crane returned to this classical theme in several different guises, and he designed a colour lithograph poster for the Scottish Widows' Fund Life Assurance Society in 1888 that employs a simplified mirror image inversion of the present watercolour. Crane also executed an illustration of Bellerophon plummeting to the earth on a dismayed Pegasus for A Wonder Book for Girls & Boys in 1892. This work portrays the Greek hero, Bellerophon, who had later captured Pegasus but was killed whilst attempting to fly to the heavens.