Lowry was a keen walker throughout his life and the present work, painted in 1950, belongs to a series of landscapes that are far removed from his depictions of the crowded urban streets. In some works the figures included are reduced to a few suggestive brushstrokes, dwarfed by the expanse of landscape surrounding them. In others, as in the present work, Lowry takes this vision a stage further denoting human existence, not by including people themselves but by using a sign of human habitation instead.
The inclusion of a solitary house, perched on a hillside, is a recurring motif in Lowry's work and connects the present work with others where the central element becomes an expression of the isolation that Lowry felt throughout his life. This theme of solitary existence is emphasized by the depiction of Top Withins, a house near Haworth in Yorkshire that was inspiration for the setting of Wuthering Heights that Emily Brontë describes in her novel of the same title. Although Top Withins was originally thought to have been the sole inspiration for Wuthering Heights, the exterior described by Brontë is closer to the 17th Century building, High Sunderland Hall (now demolished) which was situated just outside Halifax.
Maurice Collis (op. cit., p. 22), in his early monograph, commented that the solitary houses that Lowry sometimes includes in his work can be read metorphorically, 'It is possible to carry further this identification of his subjects with himself by looking more closely at his houses. The windows are sometimes like his eyes, sometimes like his whole face as it would be represented in an abstract style. The half human houses watch the scene with mournful detachment. This variation of the theme of the solitary, where Lowry is not only the figures in a scene but becomes a presence watching it, is suggested at times by the composition alone. For instance, it is a common thing to find a barrier in the foreground of his pictures - railings, posts or the like - as if he were looking on from behind a barrier, which he could not pass. And what could better sum up what has been said than the lonely Heathcliff's House?'
Michael Howard comments, 'For Lowry, nature offers no sanctuary, nowhere to shelter, unless it be a solitary farmhouse locked into the bleak empty landscape ... He saw derelict houses as fitting images to express his own sense of alienation from the world. These pictures are the creations of a highly focused libidinal sensibility. In terms of the emptiness and 'umheimlich-ness' of such works, it is possible to revisit his biography and to read his life as a series of evictions, both physical and psychic. His birth; the move from Victoria Park to Pendlebury; his mother's death; the consequent dereliction of 117 Station Road and his removal to a smaller house just around the corner, prior to his final and reluctant move to Mottram, a place in which he never felt 'at home', and which he used to merely as a base for his travels, are all actions of expulsion and separation' (see M. Howard Lowry A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, pp. 220-1).