In the mid-1960s Freud embarked on a series of paintings of botanical subjects, an interest that was anticipated in an earlier painting, 'Interior in Paddington' 1951. 'Two Plants' is rendered with meticulous precision and is perhaps Freud's most ambitious and most resolved expression of this theme. He began the painting in 1977 and it took three years to complete. Freud recalls that it provided a means of accustoming himself to the light of a new studio. He describes it as 'lots of little portraits of leaves', adding 'I wanted it to have a really biological feeling of things growing and fading and leaves coming up and others dying'.