Stokes began to paint in 1936. He completed this view before beginning to study painting at the Euston Road School in autumn 1937. Penwith Moor is in West Cornwall, where Stokes lived for several years from 1939, at Carbis Bay, near St Ives. He came to think of West Cornwall, 'the penisula between the two seas, extending ... from St Ives to Land's End', within which this moor is located, as 'the only part of Britain belonging to the geography of the Ancient World'. He was acutely aware of the geology of a terrain and of its history and natural resources. It delighted him to think that the Romans had mined the Cornish landscape for copper.