Although trained as a painter and fabric designer, by 1957 Irwin abandoned painting for collage. With Irwin's fruition of collage came his inclusion in the most significant group exhibitions of the time.
''From the torn and weather-worn posters that he either salvaged personally (and nocturnally) or persuaded London Transport's waste disposal unit to deliver in bubble to his studio ... The fabric of what he made was, as the titles often suggest (see lot 126), to do with rural and natural, rather than urban and synthetic materials ... they are ... conscious evocations of Irwin's childhood environment in Cornwall : The movement of water, the strata of rocks'' (see Exhibition catalogue, Gwyther Irwin A Retrospective, London, Gimpel Fils, September 1987, p. 10).
This work executed circa 1959 demonstrates how Irwin sometimes worked in dense layers. Very little bright colour is used in his work as he explains ''I have always used muted colours ... it is because colour means so much to me that my work contains so little of it'' (loc.cit.).