In telling the story of Clausen's life and career, McConkey unveils an artist of unusual integrity and singleness of purpose. At no time in his career of sixty years did Clausen settle into a formula and produce what he knew to be popular. The famous naturalist paintings of the early years, individual and distinctive despite their indebtedness to Millet and Bastien-Lepage, later become more colourful and the forms are diffused by light. It was an insatiable fascination with the play and influence of light on form and structure that kept Clausen at his easel and which he passed on in his celebrated lectures at The Royal Academy. Clausen emerges as an artist of real and substantial achievement.