After working as a War Artist during the Second World War, Sutherland returned to painting landscapes and natural motifs. In his paintings of 1945-6, there is a noticeable brightening of the palette, moving away from the use of dark and heavy colours and sharp contrasts in tone. In this work, Sutherland has concentrated on a group of thistle branches, stylizing the shapes of the thorns. It was made in the same year that the artist began his series of `Thorn Head? paintings, which relate to themes of human suffering and cruelty. However the inclusion of the sun and use of oranges and yellows make this work more positive in tone.