In 1914 Wyndham Lewis and the American poet and critic Ezra Pound together promoted Vorticism, an avant-garde movement celebrating the machine age and the artist as a mystic, inventor, and organiser of forms. Both men were controversial writers. Their relationship was at times difficult: in the 1920s Lewis had been very critical of Pound's poetry. But Lewis set aside their differences to produce this tribute to his friend. It is one of a series of portraits Lewis began in 1938, which also included T.S. Eliot and Stephen Spender. The composition is dominated by the diagonal lines of Pound's reclining body and the newspapers, which are offset by the strong verticals on the left.