Whether the subject is of a religious or mythological nature is not clear, but it would seem that the Chinese artist has drifted from the original, which was probably an engraving. See Howard and Ayers, op.cit., vol.I, p. 315, where the original subject matter is discussed and it is suggested that the scene could possibly derive from a drawing by Francesco Albani. See also the spoon-tray with this unusual design illustrated by A. Palmer, A Winterthur Guide to Chinese Export Porcelain, New York, 1976, fig.40a, p.77; and by Hervouët and Bruneau, La Porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes à Décor Occidental, Paris, 1986, fig.13.61, p.306, where the authors suggest that it may depict Apollo during his exile on earth, when he was serving King Admetus of Pherac as a shepherd. This is also suggested by The Chinese Porcelain Company in their catalogue entry for a coffee cup and saucer with this same scene, from the Edward A. and Judi Eckenhoff Collection, April - May 1997, no. 64. They also suggest that the lady may represent Alcestis, one of the daughters of Pelias. According to mythology, King Admetus employed Apollo to help him obtain Alcestis' hand in marriage; the authors go on to suggest a further possibility that the scene might depict Jupiter and Mnemosyne; see a similarly enamelled soup-plate illustrated by Hervouët and Bruneau, ibid., fig.13.45, p.303.