After his visit to Bolton with Mass Observation, Trevelyan returned home via the Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent. He described it as ‘a landscape full of drama and pathos… Human beings seemed to creep about almost apologetically among the manmade disasters’. Through distortion the painting shows this reality. Buildings cling to the crooked ground, and the fumes spewing out of the kilns are caught by a strong wind and flung across the cold sky. Within this inhospitable environment, people scurry about, small, fragile and often alone.