The lobster was sometimes used symbolically by surrealist artists but here it is used in a more straightforward manner. The work could be an exploration of the aesthetic and decorative potential of the subject matter but it contains an enigma. The vivid red refers to one of the key characteristics of the lobster (when cooked) while the title introduces a sombre note. Smith is apparently inviting the viewer to make his or her own associations with the image.
The work was pesented to the University with two other items by David and Shirley Hines on the occasion of the University's 25th anniversary.