Between 1900 and 1904, Draper painted a series of sea nymph paintings: A Waterbaby (1900), The Naiad’s Pool (1901), The Capture (1901), A Deep Sea Idyll (1902), and lastly Sea Melodies, exhibited at the RA in 1904, of which this painting is a smaller replica. The prime version was exhibited with two lines of unattributed verse: ‘And rippling through the plash of waves/ The merman’s pipe shall sound’. The Orphic male figure enchanting the sea nymphs with the music of his pipes was modelled by Pasquale Tallio, who sat to Draper two years earlier for Deep Sea Idyll. The two nymphs were modelled by Florrie Bird and Ethel Gurden, who appeared in several other of his pictures - including his most famous, The Lament for Icarus (1898) – usually in the role of wanton sea maidens. Sea Melodies was a popular image of Edwardian fantasy: Frost and Reed published a mezzotint by Norman Hirst after it in 1905.