The Battle of Jutland (31 May - 1 June 1916) was far from being a single decisive fleet action even though it was the last occasion on which two great battlefleets engaged each other in full strength. It was, in fact, a series of engagements spread over many hours thereby dividing the battle into several distinct phases. At about 7.20pm on 31 May, Admiral Jellicoe took what many subsequently regarded as a fateful decision when he ordered his battleships to turn away, albeit temporarily, from the threat of a torpedo attack by enemy destroyers. The result of this manoevre was an irretrievable loss of contact between the two main battlefleets which ultimately denied outright victory to either side.
Since one of the principal roles of the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron during the battle was to repel hostile torpedo attacks, Wyllie's painting almost certainly shows Calliope and her consorts hurrying to protect the flank of the battleships as they steamed away to the south east.