Before the Second World War, Morris was a well-known painter and breeder of irises, which he admired for their 'elegance, pride and delicacy'. In 1940 he moved to Benton End in Suffolk, where he cultivated a garden inspired by Claude Monet's at Giverny. He grew about 1,000 new iris seedlings every year.
1943, the year this work was painted, yielded a particularly beautiful crop. The flowers were placed in a Chinese jug and painted quickly so that the picture could be completed before they died. Morris admired Chinese flower painters because they conveyed something of the deeper meaning of plants.