Matisse’s nurse, Lydia Delectorskaya, noted Matisse’s description of many of the works to be included in the publication, ‘Jazz’. Of this work, Matisse stated: “the equestrienne is evoked by her (black and white) skirt which hangs down over the horse’s back; the clown by his green, black and yellow costume; the yellow lash is that of the ringmaster’s whip”. Following surgery for cancer in 1941, Matisse struggled to stand by an easel and instead made cut-outs while confined to his bed or wheelchair. In 1942 Matisse was commissioned to make a book of colour images. He conceived it as a book on the circus although began to incorporate other subjects and motifs. In 1944 he decided to include accompanying hand-written texts, offering breathing spaces between the vibrantly coloured images.