Jamini Roy’s unique style illustrated in Untitled (Santhal Lady) was a reaction against both the Bengal School and Western artistic traditions. His mission was to capture the simplicity embodied in folk life; to make art available to a wider cross-section of people; and to provide Indian art with its own identity. Roy discarded European paints choosing mineral and vegetable based pigments. Painting ordinary men and women and reformulating popular images, he restricted his palette to seven earthy colors; red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermillion, grey, blue and white.
This exceptional early painting depicting the profile of a seated Santhal woman adjusting a flower in her hair, is a rare and important work as it represents his transitional phase. This subject matter and artistic style emerges at a point in Roy’s career when he had taken this first step away from his academic training and the Bengal School style, but had not yet fully absorbed the folk traditions of the 'pat' painters of rural Bengal. This work is also a predecessor of the "monochrome brush drawings, mainly studies of women, which attempted to impart volume and structure through just a single vital sweep." (S. Datta, Urban Patua: The Art of Jamini Roy,
Mumbai, 2010, p. 43)