During the 1890s, Hornel moved away from the realism of his early work to a more consciously decorative form of representation. He was influenced by the work of the French painter Monticelli, whose paintings he encountered in the International Exhibitions of 1886 and 1888 in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Hornel took on the decorative style of Monticelli, which had a flatness similar to Japanese prints. Here, Hornel has used a typically flat Japanese composition and high horizon. The figure and goats are painted in thick impasto. The subject of the picture appears almost secondary to the abstract arrangement of the colours and forms which overwhelm the picture area. It may have been inspired by Arthur Melville’s ‘Audrey and Her Goats’ (Tate) of 1883-9, which was based on Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’.