Prunella Clough's painting shows a group of household cleaning items set against the background of a clothes-horse. The coloured shape at the bottom could be a splayed feather duster or plastic broom. Domestic and industrial subject matter formed the basis for much of Prunella Clough's art from the 1950s. Here the image appears both figurative and abstract, and very of its time in colour and design. Clough was an engineer's draughtsman and mapper during the Second World War. Both abstraction and figuration feature prominently in her work, and she won the prestigious Jerwood Prize for Painting in 1999.
Prunella Clough studied art at Chelsea School of Art where Henry Moore was one of her tutors. After the war she studied at Camberwell College of Art until 1949, and held her first solo exhibition at the Leger Gallery, London in 1947. In the 1950s, aware of the drabness of post-war Britain, her paintings reflected a preoccupation with modern landscape and machinery. In the 1960s, Clough regularly exhibited her increasingly abstract paintings and prints in solo and group shows, notably at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1960), the Serpentine Gallery (1976) and the Camden Arts Centre (1996). In 1999, the year of her death, Clough was awarded the Jerwood Prize for Painting, an official recognition of a lifetime’s work that was long overdue. A touring retrospective of her work was held at Tate Britain in 2007; and in 2016, a solo exhibition was held at The Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.
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