It is interesting to note and highlight the very rare scale of Study of Foliage.
'Most of Sutherland's wartime landscapes are in gouache or watercolour and on a small scale because he had not the opportunity to work them up into larger oil paintings' (see D. Cooper, The Work of Graham Sutherland, London, 1961, p. 38), Study for Foliage is particuarly and exceptionally large. Sutherland's wartime landscapes between 1940-1945 show a pattern to be far more bolder and more simplified in conception to his pre-1940 works. 'His treatment of space becomes shallower, he begins to pile planes one above the other rising up the canvas ... He gives up receding perspectives and brings these natural forms ... closer to the eye ... generally it is used to achieve a deliberately artificial effect: that is to say, he uses a stand or platform as a means of isolating some natural specimen from its organic context ... Sutherland's eye ceases to roam and he begins to 'peer', as it might be through a microscope, at some plant or insect, tree-root or stone' (ibid. p.39).
Before 1940, Sutherland's works did not depict the 'imprint of man'. However, as in Study for Foliage the onlooker can observe man's presence from the tilled landscape behind.