During her six-decade career, Marion Adnams forged a reputation as a painter of deeply distinctive and dream-like visions inspired by the Surrealist movement. Fascinated by stones, shells and other objects found in the countryside, she created disturbing juxtapositions to produce meditations on life and death. From her home in Derby, painting trips to the South of France provided her main inspiration. Adnam’s studio book records that this composition, strongly influenced by the doorway at La Chartreuse Notre-Dame-du-Val-de-Bénédiction, located in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, in the Occitanie région, was painted in May and June 1962. The monumental portal, by François de Royers de la Valfenière, was inaugurated in 1660 when Louis XIV, accompanied by Cardinal Mazarin, passed though it with great ceremony. Such illustrious associations contrast with the diminutive figure passing through the archway, a subject rich in symbolism enhanced by the motif of the mirror-like shadow in the middle ground, which looks on to a familiar landscape that features in many of Adnam’s compositions of this period.