Throughout his life, Francis Newton Souza had a contentious relationship with the Catholic church, a dynamic which informed many of his paintings and drawings. In this early work, Souza illustrates a series of liturgical vessels. Speaking on his fascination with the church, the artist states, "The Roman Catholic church had a tremendous influence over me, not its dogmas but its grand architecture and the splendor of its services...The wooden saints painted with gold and bright colors staring vacantly out of their niches. The smell of incense. And the enormous crucifix with the impaled image of a man supposed to be the Son of God, scourged and dripping, with matted hair tangled in plaited thorns." E. Mullins, F.N. Souza, London, 1962. p. 42.