Nicholson's first relief painting was made on a trip to Paris in 1933. While working on a painting, part of the thick white ground chipped off, leaving two distinct layers. He exploited this accident in a series of white reliefs made in the mid-to-late 1930s, and continued to produce reliefs throughout his career. Nicholson was influenced by the purity of the works of Mondrian, whose studio he had visited in 1933. His friendships with Barbara Hepworth (they were married in 1938) and Henry Moore may also have prompted this move into three-dimensional art.