They spent their relationship flitting between London and Portugal until 1979, when they sold their Portuguese villa and settled permanently in the UK. Here, Rego worked in various studios across the capital, experimenting in collage, painting, large-scale pastels, ink and pencil drawings and etchings. Later in her career, she would take over a factory building in Camden as her permanent workspace, filling it with props such as clothes, wigs, toys, masks, animal figurines and models.
Rego’s career started as early as 1954, after her father commissioned her to produce a series of large-scale murals to decorate the worker’s canteen at his electrical factory. In early 1962 she began exhibiting with The London Group, a long-established artists’ organisation which had David Hockney and Frank Auerbach among its members. Her first solo exhibition was in Lisbon in 1966 and in 1969 she was selected to represent Portugal at the São Paulo Biennial (years later, in 1985, she represented Great Britain there). To this day, in the coastal town of Cascais outside Lisbon, a gallery named House of Stories: Paula Rego, is devoted to her work.