It has often been said that Kenneth Armitage had an instinctive concern for the human condition and, indeed, much of his sculpture is dominated by an interest in people and their basic emotions and idiosyncrasies. From early on in his practice, Armitage was intrigued by figures and their relationship to each other, as represented in a single work. Like Henry Moore, Armitage drew on the mother and child relationship as a theme through which he could explore the sculptural expression of unified figures.
During the 1950s, Armitage produced several sculptures of women, which were distinguished by the flat rectangular form of the female torso as seen in ‘Mother and Child’. It has been suggested that Armitage’s distinct flat forms may derive, in part, from his experience of war, when he was involved with aircraft and tank identification. His time in the army prompted Armitage to explore the similarities between great feats of engineering and the construction of the human body.