Several of Caulfield’s paintings of 1963–4 make direct reference to compositional devices found in the carefully constructed still lifes of the Cubist painter Juan Gris. As Caulfield said ‘What I like about Juan Gris’s work is not that he’s dealing with different view points, it’s the way he does it. It’s very strong, formally, and decorative’.
During this period Caulfield started to introduce exotic objects into his paintings. The art critic Marco Livingstone has described them as combining ‘decorative opulence with technical austerity’. The dagger and sheath here were drawn from life in the Victoria and Albert Museum.