Captivated by the luminous colours and radiant light of the Mediterranean, Bonnard spent nearly every summer in the 1920s exploring the coast between Antibes and Saint-Tropez. Favouring the area around Cannes, and particularily the village of Le Cannet, Bonnard finally purchased a villa there in 1926, which he christened 'Le Bosquet'.
Following a visit to Le Bosquet in 1942, Michel Terrasse described the last stage of his journey as follows: 'From the glamorous town of Cannes a gasolene-driven bus took us along the Boulevard Carnot to Le Cannet. Having left our luggage at the Pension Rachel, we climbed on foot between the red-tiled houses. We walked along sunny alley-ways running by the side of fragrant gardens in which lemons and oranges were growing. The light was like an illuminated manuscript as we arrived at the Avenue Victoria. We reached the green garden up a steep incline' (M. Terrasse, Bonnard at Le Cannet, London, 1988, p.19).
Bonnard was inspired by the light and colour which surrounded him at Le Cannet which is clearly seen in his use of vivid yellows, oranges, blues and greens in Matinée sur les toits. Describing the influence of the Côte d'Azur and particularly Le Cannet on Bonnard's work at this time, Michel Terrasse has written: 'Under the blazing sun, with the mistral blowing, his palette caught fire without losing any of its subtlety. A born colourist, he was sensitive not only to burst of colour but equally to the quality of the air, to the vibration, the texture, the perfume of things' (ibid., p. 11).
Matinée sur les toits is painted in Bonnard's favourite compositional formula: viewed as if from a balcony, the rooftops of the village in the middle ground accented by the lush green olive groves beyond with the shimmering mountains of the Alpes-Maritimes looming in the distance.