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Armfield described this picture as a satirical view of industrial society, which he loathed, and saw personified in the figure of the small industrialist. Armfield was on the side of ‘Beauty preserved’; he had previously painted landscapes and buildings owned by the National Trust under this title.

This emblematic portrait of the despoiling enemy is based on an earlier drawing of his father, an engineer who had a factory at Ringwood, Hampshire, where Armfield was born. It also reflects his esoteric theory of colour in which the interplay of magenta and green had ‘zodiacal’ significance.
 

September 2004