As Frink was fascinated with nature and its animals, the commission to depict two buffalo came naturally to her but this new departure also gave her an opportunity to look to another culture for inspiration. She was particularly influenced by animal forms depicted on ritual bronze vessels made from the Chou Dynasty (1249 - 1122 BC) that she was particularly drawn to for the standing buffalo. It is also highly likely that she took inspiration from stone figures that line the approach to the Ming tombs outside Beijing. The rough and expressive exterior of Standing Buffalo, and the other maquettes Frink produced for the commission, show every mark made, not only by the artist's hands but her tools as well, and show Frink at her most expressive. The large scale completed buffaloes differ in feel slightly, appearing smoother and more polished, perhaps an aknowlegement on Frink's part of her audience and the style of architecture they were to sit in.
Dame Elisabeth Frink was a leading figure in British sculpture. She studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1949 to 1953 and was part of the post-war group of British sculptors who became known as the Geometry of Fear School. She was awarded honorary doctorates from several universities, and was given the title CBE and Dame. Although Frink made many drawings and prints, she is best known for her bronze outdoor sculptures. Untouched by passing fashions, Frink created mostly figurative sculptures, the human male and animals being among her favorite subjects. Her experience of different landscapes made her increasingly enthusiastic about her sculptures being shown in the open air.