Isn’t this picture lovely? I never really gave it much attention before. Howard Pyle painted it in 1887 for A Story of The Golden Age by James Baldwin, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Even the small (3.7 x 4.6"), early halftone reproduction is pretty good. The original is still out there, somewhere, but it almost certainly is black and white watercolor (or ink) on paper and about 10 x 12 inches, give or take an inch or so. It illustrates a passage in which Deianeira, wife of Heracles, says:
I have been thinking of what I can do to keep my husband’s love. I had almost forgotten that I have a charm which will help me, or I might not have been so sadly troubled. Years and years ago, when we were fleeing from my dear old home at Calydon, we came to the river Evenus. The water was very deep, and the current very swift; but there lived on the banks of the stream an old Centaur, named Nessus, whose business it was to ferry travellers across to the other shore. He first took my husband safely over, and then myself and our little son Hyllus. But he was so rude, and withal so savage in his manners, that Heracles was greatly angered at him; and he drew his bow, and shot the brutish fellow with one of his poisoned arrows. Then my woman’s heart was filled with pity for the dying Centaur, wicked though he was; and I felt loath to leave him suffering alone upon the banks of Evenus. And he, seeing me look back, beckoned me to him. “Woman,” he said, “I am dying; but first I would give thee a precious gift. Fill a vial with the blood that flows from this wound, and it shall come to pass that if ever thy husband's affections grow cold, it will serve as a charm to make him love thee as before. It needs only that thou shouldst smear the blood upon a garment, and then cause him to wear the garment so that the heat of the sun or of a fire shall strike upon it.” I quickly filled the vial, as he directed, and hastened to follow my husband.