Patrick Heron was born in Leeds and settled in Cornwall with his family in 1925. He studied at the Slade School of Art in London from 1937 to 1939. Heron's father owned the Cresta Silks factory, for which Heron produced designs in the 1930s and 1940s. As a conscientious objector during the Second World War, Heron worked on a farm before becoming an assistant to the potter Bernard Leach in St Ives. He also worked as an art critic for the New Statesman magazine and as a teacher. From the mid-1950s Heron produced abstract paintings, featuring distinctive 'lozenges' of bright, vibrant colour.