Inspired by Thomas Malory's "Le Mort D'Arthur," Sandys created a half-length portrait of the character Ysoude. According to Arthurian legend, while betrothed to King Mark, Ysoude accidentally drinks a love potion and falls in love with Tristram, the king's messenger and nephew. The ill-fated couple try to escape the wrath of the king but suffer tragic consequences. In Pre-Raphaelite fashion, the artist references his literary subject by applying symbolic imagery. Red flowers relate to love and passion, while the silver amulets in the figure's necklace reference lust and treachery.