Oedipus, a figure from Greek mythology, encountered the Sphinx in the city of Thebes. The Sphinx was a monster with the body of a lion, a human head and female breasts who destroyed those who could not answer her riddle about the three ages of men. Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx killed herself. Oedipus with the Sphinx was a subject used by artists from Greek vase painters of the 5th century BC onwards, but in this work Philpot offers Oedipus alone, inwardly confident in the surety of his answer. Philpot painted a mural in London in 1931 of 'Oedipus addressing the Sphinx' which depicted the two characters together.