In 1959 Tyeb Mehta left India for England where he lived for five years. The Red Shawl and other paintings from this period are influenced by European expressionism. They are executed in heavily textured sombre colours, applied with a palette knife. The central image is usually a sad, lonely and isolated figure. The artist, who had worked in a morgue and faced several personal tragedies in the early years of his career, clearly identifies with suffering of his subject.