Prunella Clough (1919-1999) painted the neglected corners and hinterlands of the urban landscape, drawing on imagery taken from building sites and factory yard floors in works balanced unsteadily between abstraction and figuration. Her attentiveness to the weathered fabric of the man-made environment is reflected in the methods she used to make her paintings; partial removal of paint using sandpaper, paint stripper or wire wool was as much a part of her technique as the application of paint to canvas. The materials and processes Clough used invoke forces of physical change, erosion and fading. Combining technical examination and documentary research, this talk highlights the importance of addressing the materiality of the artist’s work.
Claire Shepherd graduated from The Courtauld with a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings in 2014. From 2014-15 she was a Postgraduate Research Associate in Paintings Conservation at the Yale Center for British Art, where she carried out conservation treatments and research into a group of 20th-century British paintings by artists including Prunella Clough, Keith Vaughan, Walter Sickert and LS Lowry.