Prunella Clough

The White Root


Prunella Clough 1919–1999
Oil paint on board
Support: 505 × 395 mm
frame: 632 × 522 × 50 mm
Purchased 1982

Display caption

Clough’s first solo show in 1947 was at the Leger Gallery in London. It included still lifes and landscapes. Throughout the late 1940s, she visited the Suffolk Coast and her paintings from that time often show coastal subjects. The White Root features a bleached root structure, a wooden box or door and other debris. Although Clough painted it from observation, she focused on the abstract qualities of the root’s texture and shape.

Gallery label, April 2019

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Catalogue entry

T03810 THE WHITE ROOT 1946

Oil on board 19 3/4 × 16 (505 × 395)
Inscribed ‘Clough’ and illegible date b.r. and on reverse ‘↑’ and ‘Mr Bowas....’ (illegible)
Purchased from Fischer Fine Art Ltd. (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Prov: Purchased from the artist by Fischer Fine Art Ltd.
Exh: Recent Paintings by Prunella Clough and Walter H. Nessler, The Leger Galleries, March–April 1947 (8); The British Neo-Romantics 1935–1950, Fischer Fine Art, July–August 1983, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, August–September 1983 (102)

Prunella Clough returned to painting in 1945, having left art school immediately before the war, and the earliest works in her retrospective exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1960 were of this date. She visited the Suffolk coast from her home in London, and many of her paintings of these years have coastal subjects. The artist has confirmed that these scenes were neither discovered nor arranged in this way, but were deliberate reconstructions.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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