71-75 (Column) is an example of a carved relief, the approach to abstraction for which Nicholson is perhaps best remembered. His first reliefs date from the 1930s, and while of great personal interest to him, were not considered particularly saleable at that time. The British artist and writer Patrick Heron believed that the commercial success attained by Nicholson in the 1950s gave him the financial security to return to the relief. The present work is an important late relief, made when he returned to England in the early 1970s, having lived on the continent for many years. The Times welcomed him back with an interview published on 3 August 1971, "Ben Nicholson, OM, the foremost British abstract painter is living in England once more." Nicholson himself commented, "I am enjoying myself immensely. My roots are in England and I wanted to return to them."
Nevertheless, Nicholson's many years on the continent and especially his trips to Greece still had a significant impact on his work. He was fascinated not only by the Greek landscape with its brilliant light and colors, but also by its megalithic and pre-classical architecture. The artist's carved reliefs of this period are further discussed by Peter Khoroche, "The reliefs are rarely straightforward evocations of a place: they are not so much landscapes as mindscapes. Above all, they are objects whose color, form and texture are to be appreciated for themselves and for what they suggest to each individual viewer. They are a means of conveying an experience or an awareness, not the representation of something. Obviously this requires a special sort of aesthetic contemplation in the spectator who, if properly attuned, will enter into Nicholson's idea and so share with him a highly-charged piece living reality. Just as for Nicholson it was a question of finding and recognizing the right mood before he could start on a drawing, or of going deeper and deeper into his subconscious as he scraped and painted and rubbed and scoured the bone-hard hardboard of his late reliefs, so we who contemplate the finished work must do so with sympathetic sensitivity, opening up our own memory-store to meet it halfway" (Ben Nicholson 'Chasing out Something Alive,' Drawings and Painted Reliefs 1950-75, exh. cat., Cambridge, 2002, p. 38).