Arthur Hugh Clough, the son of James Clough and Anne Perfect, was born in Liverpool in 1819. Three years later the family moved to Charleston in South Carolina. Arthur returned to England in 1828 to study at Rugby School.
Inspired by the teaching of Thomas Arnold, he won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. Although he failed to win the expected first-class degree, he was elected a fellow of Oriel College. In 1850 Clough became professor of English Literature at University College
Arthur was the brother of Ann Jemima Clough. He took a keen interest in Anne's education. He directed her studies and under his influence Anne started her own school and was later to become principal of Newnham College, Cambridge.
A close friend of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, he shared their radical political beliefs. Clough called himself a republican, disliked class distinction and was highly critical of the capitalist system.
In 1852 Clough went to America where he became a tutor at Cambridge, Massachusetts. He returned to England in 1853 and joined the Education Department. In the aftermath of the Crimean War, toured military schools in Austria, France and Prussia.
Clough wrote a great deal of poetry but only two volumes appeared during his lifetime: The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich (1848) and Ambarvalia (1849). Arthur Hugh Clough died in Florence in 1861.