Symbolism was of great interest to Armstrong, and, in the early 1950s, he began to develop his own symbolist vocabulary. This encompassed many of his views and beliefs - relating to mythology, religion, theatre, architecture and politics. These are visible in his series of large ‘battle’ paintings, such as ‘The Battle of Religion’, for which this is a study. An echo of surrealism is also apparent with Armstrong playing on the incongruity of the rocking horse on the battlefield and the figures blindly waving their wooden swords yet failing to clash. In its subject and composition this work is clearly inspired by Uccello’s ‘Battle of San Romano’ in the National Gallery, London.