Reynolds was born in 1926 and was brought up in Newmarket in Suffolk. The local landscape and the work of Gainsborough and Constable were important influences, especially in his earlier landscape compositions (see lots 73 and 74). He studied first at the Woolwich Polytechnic School of Art, and then obtained a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. During his time at the Royal College, he exhibited at the Redfern Gallery, and on leaving college he took up teaching at the Central School of Arts and Crafts.
There are distinct phases within Reynolds's career and the present work is an example of the shift between figurative landscape and pure white relief. The 1950s had brought critical acclaim for his figurative landscapes at the Redfern exhibitions, but as Michael Harrison comments, the late 1950s and early 60s saw the, 'confirmation of his move towards composition based on the play between vertical and horizontal, what he came to see as our essential relationship with landscape', and therefore towards more structural, such as this example, taking on 'geometric forms, at first including circular shapes, sometimes with black or primary colours, and then purely rectilinear and eventually just white' (see Exhibition catalogue, Alan Reynolds, Cambridge, Kettle's Yard, 2003, pp. 17-20.)
Reynolds explicitly stated the importance of structure and abstraction to his work in 1961: 'What I desire in my painting is structure and through that structure, poetry - the kind of poetry which is instinct with abstract visual form. I begin with a few simple shapes or forms and then improvise intuitively. It is the image - the thing in itself that for me is important. The abstract is the thing' (quoted in J.P. Hodin, Alan Reynolds, London, Redfern Gallery, 1962, pp. 7-8.) The foundations for these structural abstractions remained grounded in nature and landscape, as he described in 1963: 'Earlier my work was more obviously related to natural forms ... it is still concerned with poetry and it remains influenced by nature and my surroundings - for me it could not be otherwise' (quoted in Exhibition catalogue, Alan Reynolds, London, Gallery 27, James Huntington Whiteley Fine Art, 2004, pages not numbered).