Nicholson was one of the leading British contemporary painters of the time and his work was the most important commission for the restaurant. Barbara Hepworth and Eduardo Paolozzi also received commissions. Drew suggested the idea of a concave mural, to echo the curved entrance to the restaurant, an idea Nicholson found appealing. The materials, which even by 1950 were still scarce, were provided by the commissioners. Nicholson worked on the three panels throughout the autumn of 1950 and finished the mural in January 1951. It was installed in April.
The outer two panels are curved, the central panel flat, although the general appearance of the work is of a regular curve. Geometric motifs played an important role in Nicholson's work of this period. The dynamic movement of the lines in this mural is consistent with the angularity of the contemporary sculpture of Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, William Turnbull and Robert Adams. Much British sculpture of the 1950s expressed a sense of angst, although Nicholson insisted that his was an optimistic piece. The use of dynamic lines also paralleled such architectural forms in the Festival as the Skylon designed by Powell & Moya. Reflecting the fashion for openly displaying support structures, fretwork girders were no longer clad but were prominent on the outside of buildings, setting up rhythmic patterns. Nicholson's mural echoes these concerns.
Nicholson's mural is the largest painting to have been executed by him, and among the largest made by any contemporary European artist. It was later displayed for a time in the VIP lounge at London-58s Heathrow Airport. The Arts Council subsequently gave it to Edinburgh University, who presented it to the Tate Gallery.
Mary Banham and Bevis Hillier (eds.), A Tonic to the Nation: The Festival of Britain 1951, London 1976, pp.103-4, reproduced p.103