Patrick Heron spent most of his childhood in Cornwall and trained at the Slade School of Art between 1937-1939. Until 1955 Heron produced figurative paintings, influenced by the French painters Georges Braque and Henri Matisse, but from 1956 he turned exclusively to producing abstract work. He is associated with a group of artists known as the St. Ives group who lived and worked in the town from the 1930s; artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon. Much of their work can be seen in the Tate Gallery in St. Ives, which houses a specially commissioned stained glass window by Patrick Heron.
Heron's work is influenced by the landscape and coast in Cornwall where he lived, with the colours and forms in his work being taken from nature. In the introduction to Heron's retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1972, Heron said: "Colour has become my most passionate and persistent concern. It is the interaction of colours, the 'meeting lines' or 'frontiers' between colours which are crucial to an apprehension of the actual line of the areas of colour."
Heron used the process of screenprinting to produce these prints in order to obtain the vivid colours he wanted. A screenprint is produced by using the basic principle of a stencil, in that it is a method by which paint is brushed over a screen so that the colour penetrates those parts of the screen that have not previously been masked. The screen is made of fine silk stretched on a wooden frame and the design is masked using paper or lacquer.
A pair of Patrick Heron's paintings were given to the University Collection by Alistair
McAlpine in 1966 and can be seen in University House.