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In the 1930s Smith lightened the colours of his painting. This was in contrast to the sometimes impenetrable reds and browns he had used earlier. This still life is based on the weird mauve colour of the anemone flowers in the basket at the left. In some places the paint is thin, so that the white ground shines through as in a watercolour. The design is like a still life by Cézanne, but Smith's fluid brushstrokes suggest the liveliness of the fruit.

This is one of Smith's largest still lifes. He and his wife chose it to present to the Tate Gallery during the war, as a memorial to their two sons, their only children, both killed while serving with the Royal Air Force.

September 2004