Roy Newby referred to this painting as Northumberland Arms (a pub on the Upper Richmond Road between Putney and Barnes in south-west London) though - curiously - the title written on the rear of the canvas is Red Phone Box. Made in the late 1950s, he was experimenting with black outline round colour-mass (not least in what is effectively a portrait of a London plane tree). Here are different worlds - the twinkling window of the pub, the private house on the right, sheltered behind its cradling wall, the street where we stand as observers and that dominant, central world of the phone box, four-square in the middle of the scene, connecting us to the world everywhere else. The human figures are simple - two vanish off-stage, left and right (the one on the left almost gone - what a strange device so to cut this figure in half!), while the central (faceless) character checks in his pocket for change for the telephone call he needs to make. Standing still on the pavement, maybe like the other figures he too is moving on - he has a suitcase after all. Does the phone box carry any narrative - even symbolic - significance? Perhaps these questions are misplaced. We don't need to read stories into this painting, tempting though it might be. More likely is that the phone box is simply the occasion for rich red in a complex of autumnal colours, a visual rather than a narrative device.