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In the late 1940s and early 1950s the common man or labourer became a dominant subject for Clough and for several of her contemporaries, such as John Minton, Keith Vaughan and John Craxton. During the years 1946-9 Clough often visited East Anglia, particularly its coast, and this subject is thought to stem from her time there. Although inspired by a certain locality, Clough's work usually turns the particular and the localised into something large and generalised. She imparts a sense of monumentality to the figure of the man occupied in a menial task. At the same time Clough suggests the gritty realism of the working man's life, a familiar theme in British culture of the 1950s.

August 2004