Thin, double-side, H-shaped bronze sculpture. Each side is made up of a collection of rough rectangle shapes overlapping and butting up against one another. Two rectangle-shaped openings penetrate the piece.
The artist is interested in the synthesis between idea, material, and form in abstract sculpture.
The Roman emperor Vespasian sits in an interior receiving a document from a standing figure to the right of the composition. The emperor is dressed in a white robe and sits on a red chair to the left of the composition. The interior is largely dark, with the exception of the emperor, whose figure is brightly lit.
The painting is in the original frame, which is constructed to resemble a Roman Temple with base, entablature, and fluted ionic pilasters.
The architecture and artifacts of ancient Rome were of enduring interest to Alma-Tadema and the artist kept for his use both reference photographs and his own drawings of chairs, friezes, and other details of daily life that he could see in the Naples Museum and elsewhere. These details were employed to convey a strong sense of period authenticity, in this case the report delivered to Vespasian from his son, Titus, describing the sack of the city of Jerusalem. The rich coloration, thoughtful pose of the emperor, and strong light on the seated figure all contribute to the quiet and meditative mood of the work.