In 1954, Souza gained some critical notoriety after he published the autobiographical essay 'Nirvana of a Maggot' alongside a set of drawings in Stephen Spender's Encounter magazine, and in 1955 he had his first solo exhibition at Victor Musgrave's Gallery One which sold out entirely. The exhibition launched the artist's successful six-year collaboration with Gallery One and secured Souza's outspoken position in London's cultural scene.
Souza's landscapes from the 1950s in London as typified in Untitled, 1954 (lot 9) and Untitled, 1958 (lot 50) underscore what the artist perceived to be the hypocritical and intimidating forces of society. The juxtaposition of stark trees and man-made architecture is representative of the tension between the natural and the nurtured. In Untitled, 1954 (lot 9), the scene is placid and melancholic. At the upper-centre of the canvas is a cross, which for Souza was a powerful symbol of the church's controlling patrimony. Similarly, in Untitled, 1958 (lot 50), the architectural elements dominate the canvas and overpower the two bare trees. A contemporary British critic noted that "in his new painting F.N. Souza [...] paints with a sort of acid tenderness. The rage [...] bursts out in one or two pictures [...] of a brave new, post-nuclear world. But the painting itself is subtler, more sparing and more controlled." (D. Thompson, 'Review of FN Souza', The Times, February 1955). The ability to convey complex emotions via a simple and deliberate structure is an element common to Souza's artworks and writings from this period. While his work was often interpreted as evidence of frustration with the confines of polite society, Souza's advocacy of untamed exuberance in the face of timid social constrictions is ultimately affirmative.