This uninhibited dancer silhouetted against the sun and bright blue sky was inspired by the wife of the St Ives-based painter Roger Hilton. The painting was prompted by a rum-fuelled argument between the couple, which took place on the balcony of their holiday home in an isolated French village in 1962. Dancing vigorously with rage outside their house, naked, and shouting ‘Oi, Yoi, Yoi', Rose Hilton failed to notice the local firemen and others putting out a fire in a nearby field. The voluptuous vision which captured their attention made an equally big impact on the artist, who made two versions of the picture.
This exuberant painting was inspired by an incident which took place in the summer of 1963, when the artist and his family were holidaying in France. The artist's wife, Rose, had returned to their isolated village from shopping at a nearby town, and recalled "in rebellion, after returning hot and dusty, with the food and drink supplies for a week, I drank some rum, undressed and danced nude on the balcony, not noticing that the firemen and locals were busy putting out a fire in a hayrick in the fields opposite. Nor did I notice that they had transferred their attention to the balcony." Typically, however, Hilton removes the subject from a specific incident to encompass primal human energy in general.
Hilton was born in Middlesex. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and also enjoyed a bohemian lifestyle in Paris during the 1930s. Hilton joined the army in 1939 and spent the years of 1942 to 1945 as a prisoner of war. He began painting in an abstract style in the early 1950s. From 1957 Hilton spent an increasing proportion of his time in St Ives in Cornwall, settling there in 1965. During this period he moved away from abstraction and began to incorporate landscape and figurative motifs into his work.