Ben Nicholson?s second wife was the artist Barbara Hepworth and the two were based in St Ives, Cornwall, from 1939 to 1957. Throughout the war, a shortage of materials and lack of studio space meant that Nicholson concentrated on smaller works and drawings such as this oil and pencil work. In 1945 he wrote to a friend, commenting on his new style: ?I have been on to some quite new work ? rather complex off-the rectangle compositions and pungent colour?. This work also displays formal similarities, in the rectangular and circular motifs, to the reliefs both he and Hepworth had been making since the 1930s.