In his youth Duncan Grant had been a leading avant-garde painter and designer, a key member of the Bloomsbury group and co-founder of the Omega workshops. He produced an enormous body of work in a variety of styles and subjects. This was painted in the rick-yard at Charleston, home of Grant and Vanessa Bell in Sussex. The hayrick is depicted as a tall, elegant but fragile structure, which harmonises with its natural environment. In the 1930s a number of societies were founded to oppose the destruction of the English countryside. During the war rural England became central to national identity, and threatened by aerial bombardment it became even more precious.