Prunella Clough

Wire and Demolition


Not on display

Prunella Clough 1919–1999
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1520 × 1670 mm
frame: 1548 × 1702 × 38 mm
Purchased 1982

Display caption

Clough’s paintings of urban and industrial scenes were often inspired by objects the artist noticed during walks around sites of interest. Here Clough references a piece of old wire discovered on a building site. Before studying art, Clough made maps for the US Office of War Information. The influence of this experience can be seen in her depiction of boundaries and fences in her paintings.

Gallery label, May 2019

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Catalogue entry


Oil on canvas 60 × 65 3/4 (1520 × 1670)
Inscribed ‘↑ Clough’ on reverse
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Exh: Prunella Clough, New Paintings, 1979–82, Warwick Arts Trust, April–May 1982 (62, repr.); Prunella Clough, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, May–July 1982 (no catalogue)

The artist's interview (1982) with Bryan Robertson was printed as the introduction to the Warwick Arts Trust catalogue. In this she describes her work in terms of urban landscape, particularly the light industrial estates of London. Subjects are not sketched on the spot, and any reference to real places is from memory. Four of the artist's photographs of such areas, of gates, a door and a wall, were published in this catalogue, not for any direct connection with particular paintings, but as a demonstration of a way of looking at such scenes in the terms of her abstract paintings.

The titles of Clough's paintings of 1980–1 often refer to gates, fences, wire mesh and wire. The surface of ‘Yellow Mesh’ includes particles of dust (identified by the artist as either ash or silver sand) mixed with the paint.

The canvas is partly painted on the reverse.

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

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