In his paintings of this time Murphy was setting identifiable objects against indefinable grounds. This reflects his preoccupation with the impossibility of perceiving the work of art as something complete in itself. The objects depicted remain, to a large degree, incomplete and illusory. This work reflects the poetic yearning for the unity and order we seek in the fragments that comprise our experience of time, sensations and objects. It has been described as 'a painting of regret for the irreversibility of time' with the fallen blossom below the vase 'an emblem of mortality'.