Middleton and his wife travelled extensively in 1972 and 1973, visiting such places as Perth in Western Australia, where they stopped for two months, and Barcelona. These trips inspired a group of Surrealist paintings entitled The Wilderness Series, which were exhibited at the Tom Caldwell Gallery in Belfast in 1974. Daniel O'Neill, a friend of the artist and with whom he had shared a joint exhibition at the Tooth Gallery, London, some twenty years before, died in March of that year. Middleton produced this work to incorporate aspects of O'Neill's work, the dark Irish landscape and rural implements, such as a cartwheel, together with memories of his character. The piano represents O'Neill's many years spent entertaining the patrons of his local public houses.