Prunella Clough was born in London on 11 November 1919 and is mostly known for her paintings, which give unique views of everyday features of the urban lanscape. However, she also made prints and created assemblages of collected objects, the extent of which only became clear when they were discovered in her studio after her death.
Clough studied at Chelsea College of Art in 1937, where she began taking classes with sculptor Henry Moore. During the 1950s, she became close friends with the painter and critic John Berger and the pair would go drawing together in the marshalling yards at Willesden Junction. Clough also made regular visits to factories and industrial sites, which resulted in a number of paintings of men and women at work on building sites, together with images of power stations, electrical plants and chemical works.
She used a variety of tools and materials to apply paint to her canvas and sometimes mix textured materials like sand into her paint. Andrew Graham-Dixon said of her work: "Her subjects are closely observed details and scenes from the landscape. The images are combined and filtered through memory, and evolve through a slow process of layering and re-working".
Clough's work enjoyed increasing recognition from the 1970s onwards and apart from a period of working as a cartographer for the Office of War Information during wartime service, Clough painted full-time until her death in 1999. In that same year, she was awarded the Jerwood Prize for Painting and in 2007 she received a retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain.