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Prunella Clough was immensely private about her work and disliked talking about it. She gave few interviews and, whenever possible, avoided discussing her painting. When asked technical questions concerning how she achieved a certain texture or painted effect, she deflected the enquiry with “Oh, you know how it is; it’s just a bit of paint and you push it around until it obeys you!” Her letters, banged out on her battered, old typewriter, more often than not sign out with the words

“…have to keep pushing stones up hills!”

While this no-nonsense approach, succeeded in shifting attention away from her, it also highlighted that just getting on with work was the central preoccupation of Clough’s life. She believed that the more you worked the more you learnt – painting was a never-ending journey of discovery. One had to keep busy and keep one’s nose to the grindstone. Like so many women at that time, she acquired and cultivated a strict work ethic as part of her war effort; her talents were put to good use as a firewatcher, typographer, mapper, engineering draughtsman and a commercial designer. Whenever she had a spare moment she took art classes, painted, drew and made prints and sculptures. Work was life-enhancing and vital to her and, indeed, it even became the subject matter of much of her painting.

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