Turner's final exhibits at the Royal Academy were four pictures of Dido and Aeneas. According to his housekeeper he worked on all four paintings 'in rotation.'
This canvas is the third in the series. In the foreground are Dido, Queen of Carthage (in white) and Aeneas (in red), accompanied by Cupid in disguise. They are visiting the tomb of Dido's husband, Sychaeus, in the hope that his memory might restrain her fatal passion for Aeneas. Turner showed the picture with a line from his poem, The Fallacies of Hope: 'The sun went down in wrath at such deceit.'