Hodgkin studied art in London at the Byam Shaw and Royal Academy schools. Turnips were one of several types of small natural object that he frequently painted. Most of his other still life paintings were made in tempera. As was the artist's custom, 'Pink and White Turnips' was painted directly from the motif, and the vegetables are depicted their actual size. According to the artist it probably took three or four sessions, of perhaps four to five hours each, to complete the picture.