Prunella Clough was best known for her paintings of industrial subjects. The paintings grew out of her concern to reinterpret figurative painting free from its traditional associations. In a an interview for Picture Post in 1949 Clough commented that: “Anything that the eye or the mind’s eye sees with intensity and excitement will do for a start; a gasometer is a as good as a garden, probably better…..whatever the theme, it is the nature and structure of an object – and seeing it as if it were strange and unfamiliar, which is my chief concern.”
In her early work Clough embraced French Cubism and was also associated with English Neo-romanticism . She became drawn to geometric forms in landscape and was concerned with representing the memory of a scene. Her colours were usually warm and muted, close-toned and strongly textured.
She invented a personal abstract language with which to celebrate the most commonplace urban and semi- industrialised scene. Waste grounds with rusting, abandoned machine parts or broken implements often provided Clough with inspiration, but her subjects were always seen close up. A discarded handful of nails and fragments of wire mesh were enough, rather than the big bulk of a machine. The parts seemed more eloquent to her than the whole.
Clough produced prints throughout her career, making lithographs on her own press as early as 1948. Throughout her career she continued to experiment with all the print disciplines. She was a member of a group in the 1950’s which included Michael Ayrton, Keith Vaughan, John Croxton and the poet Dylan Thomas. They met in the Camden Hill Studio, which John Minton shared with Robert MacBryde and Robert Colquhoun. By the time of her death in 1999 she had twenty six solo exhibitions and been seen in over fifty group shows.