In 1948, after military service and a year as a professional jazz musician, Davie took up a travelling scholarship, awarded to him in 1941. After visiting William Gear in Paris, he continued to Venice, where works by Pollock in Peggy Guggenheim's collection stimulated his own art. While preparing for a show in Florence, Davie started making monotypes, writing to his father, 'I have perfected the technique of monotype; the secret is to use printer's ink on glass and to print on a fine Ingres paper. I am really finding something in the black and white mediums - discovered a lot of Klee's tricks too.' Davie made around 100 monotypes between November and December 1948.