Martin has created a highly original interpretation of the witches' meeting with Macbeth and Banquo from Shakespeare's tragedy 'Macbeth'. The supernatural figures fly out from a swirl of mist and streaks of lightning. The men's gestures convey their shock, isolated as they are from the large army winding into the far distance. This in turn melts into insignificance on Martin's cosmic stage, which serves as a reminder of the cataclysmic consequences of the encounter. A larger version of the painting was exhibited at the British Institution in 1820, but remained unsold. Later, however, Sir Walter Scott lamented that he could not afford it for Abbotsford.