Cindy Sherman began her ‘Clowns’ series of photographs in 2003. As a logical progression of her interest in dressing up, the photographs explore the range of emotions that can lie behind the painted face of a clown. The series was inspired by an article of clothing, a pair of pyjamas with fur-like buttons, which the artist purchased at a yard sale. In this photograph, the clown’s outfit of a rather frumpy patterned skirt and frilled blouse seems to be at odds with her riotous make-up and cowboy hat. While the costume and hand suggest a middle-aged woman, the face is dramatically different. The digitally-manipulated background to the clown refers to traditional, brightly-coloured circus posters.