Prunella Clough, noted for the delicate balance between figuration and abstraction in her pictures, summed up her approach to painting by saying, ‘I am essentially an “eye” person, totally affected by visual fact.’ Lowestoft Harbour, an early work, shows a contemporary scene of dockside workers weighing and packing fish. The figures have been visually integrated into their surroundings, however, the grey and brown lines around the edges suggest the development of her later abstractions. It was painted as the result of an invitation by the Arts Council to take part in their Festival of Britain touring exhibition, 60 Paintings for ’51, from which it was then purchased for the Arts Council Collection. Clough had spent time in East Anglia during the war years and continued to visit the area to paint the fishing ports at Lowestoft and Southwold with their busy maritime life, often focusing on closely observed details of ropes, barrels and machinery. In keeping with much painting made in post-war Britain, its colour is subdued, but perhaps the tones have more to do with Clough’s observation that the English weather meant ‘the things that I see tend to be somewhat murky’. She later turned to the docklands of the Thames estuary and the surrounding industrial landscapes as subjects for her works, which, although always informed by observation, became increasingly abstract.
- Artwork Details: 162.6 x 106.7cm
- Material description: oil on canvas
- Credit line: © Estate of the artist
- Theme: Figurative
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: AC 186