Sutherland's oil painting The Origins of the Land, 1950-1, measuring 167½ x 129 in., was commissioned for the 'Land' pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was purchased by the Arts Council of Great Britain and presented to the Tate Gallery in 1952. The display in the pavilion focused on the geological history of Britain, and Sutherland's painting appears to show root-like forms beneath the earth. A bird appears on the right of the composition, whose appearance is reminiscent of a prehistoric animal. The present lot and lot 68 are amongst a group of studies Sutherland made for this painting.