According to Noel Parsloe, husband of McCahon's sister Beatrice, this work was originally discarded by McCahon. Following Noel's interest in the painting, the artist posted it to the couple as a gift.
During this period, McCahon was experimenting with a number of commercial oil and water-based paints. In some cases, he mixed these with artists' oil colours. The exact nature of the medium can be difficult to determine.