"In no other known painting by Lanyon is the sky treated in such an expressionist manner, nor is there any other instance of field patterns being depicted with such heightened emphasis of line and colour". Toby Treves on this work in 'Peter Lanyon: Catalogue Rasionné of the Oil Paintings' (2018) where it is catalogued and illustrated on page 130.
Treves, Toby (2018) Peter Lanyon: Catalogue Rasionné of the Oil Paintings and Three-Dimensional Work, Modern Art Press, London, cat. no.131, illustrated p.130.
A notably expressionistic work by Peter Lanyon executed the year before Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo arrived in St Ives. The following year Nicholson, who was by then tutoring Lanyon, wrote: "He has done some quite nice work, understands quite naturally contemporary thought and will be a rather good painter."
The painting describes Lanyon’s response to the landscape and sky above Zennor with a serpentine section of road to St Ives in the foreground. The hill to the left of the composition is Zennor Hill, with its distinctive twin tors separated by a col. Zennor Quoit and Sperris Quoit lie on Zennor Hill and are important Neolithic sites; the latter is a megalithic burial chamber of between 4,000 and 7,000 years old, probably the oldest in Penwith. This stretch of West Penwith, between St Ives and St Just to the far west, with its mining history, ancient field structures (the oldest in Europe, some unchanged in millennia), and Neolithic sites, was a landscape that St Ives-born Lanyon knew well and was to dominate his art for decades.
Although Lanyon's method was to become more abstract, he never considered himself solely an abstract artist. For Lanyon, an intimate understanding of the landscape, its history and what lay beneath was crucial. In 1962, he wrote; "In opposition to those who believe only in the process of making known by the act of making, I maintain the primary importance of knowing before making. Thus, I am attached by some, in ignorance, to subject painting and by others in equal but more strident ignorance to abstract painting. I believe in the subject of awareness in myself of place and time and in abstraction as the process of making." We can see this empathy for his local landscape in the present work and although not abstract, it is clearly a distinct expression of feeling for the place and moment; the colourful patchwork of fields, bold outlines and wonderful swirling clouds structures are not bound by the conventions of figurative painting.
As Toby Reeves remarks about the work in his Catalogue Raisonne of the artists oil paintings (Modern Art Press, 2018) "In no other known painting by Lanyon is the sky treated in such an expressionist manner, nor is there any other instance of field patterns being depicted with such heightened emphasis of line and colour."