Born in the Scottish Borders in 1895, Redpath studied at Edinburgh College of Art in 1913. A post-graduate study led to a scholarship, which allowed her to travel around Europe and the Mediterranean, visiting Bruges, Paris, Florence and Siena. It was here that she developed a modern approach to achieving different textures in her surfaces even scraping the canvas with a small piece of chain-mail that she kept in her studio.
In a 1949 interview for Picture Post Prunella Clough explained that in her work she aimed at "saying a small thing edgily". Clough was unusual in her attraction to the stuff of ordinary life: housing estates, factories, docks, and borderlands between urban and rural areas.
She was compelled to paint from surfaces and textures of their environment, removing all unnecessary prettiness or elegance by refining her subject into abstract elements, flattening the pictorial space and using a close-toned colour palette. Her affinity for bleak and ugly subjects could be read, in part, as a reaction against her privileged upbringing in London’s Belgravia. Though seemingly banal, her subject matter was in fact 'exotic' to her.
Clough’s work of the 60s and 70s became increasingly abstract, but were still always inspired by the concrete/physical world around her: the overlooked components of what she called the ‘urbscape’ or the experience of viewing objects in space.