Clough was drawn to paint the elusive quality of things, and famously admitted (in one of her rare public statements) that she aimed at ‘saying a small thing edgily’. The sombre early palette has here been ameliorated slightly by an admixture of blue-green, but she always worried that she might be making her work too tasteful, even elegant, and constantly disrupted her urge to paint brighter by a confirmed reliance on what she herself called ‘sludge colours’. Even though she painted so many predominantly urban themes, she remarked to Bryan Robertson in 1982 : ‘I see my subject largely as landscape.’ Here is a landscape from her early maturity, painted in 1948, and possibly of an East Anglian subject, although the slight hill on the left might suggest otherwise. More likely perhaps that her reference point was the estuarine landscape of Kent or Essex, which she frequently visited. But the place is in some senses immaterial: the point of the painting is the interplay of tones and subfusc colours, the quasi-geometry of their arrangement and the quiet and unforeseen magic the composition effortlessly generates.