Prunella Clough on the beach

The New English Landscape

Boats in Winter and War Defences, 1941-2
Oil on canvas (30.5 x 41cm)
Private collection, courtesy of Annely Juda Fine Art

The publication of Frances Spalding’s generously illustrated biography, Prunella Clough: Regions Unmapped (Lund Humphries) is welcome. Clough (1919 – 1999) was a key artist in the post-war move away from the ‘Romantic Moderns’ – many of whom had spent the war drawing and painting scenes from religious and stately-home architecture for the Recording Britain project – to a fresh concern with the East Anglian coast and its wartime detritus. Having made an impact with her Surrealist-influenced picture of 1940, Sea Composition, she went on to paint Shore-line and War Defences (1941-42), Closed Beach (1945) and the acclaimed Dead Bird (1945-46), before taking up the cause of realism with scenes from the working life of docks, harbours and factories. Her colour palette was mostly based on sombre hues…

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