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I visited Lowry.

Updated: May 16

I visited Lowry at the weekend to see his paintings. Sadly, I’ll never get to know or speak with Mr Laurence Stephen Lowry as he died in 1976. However, his legacy of paintings remains to speak for him. The Lowry in Manchester have created a monument to their Lancashire lad. Each painting tells a story of the man and his keen sense of humanity.

Up close his paintings can appear to be unrefined but stand back and you get the full picture. He would take a brush and apply the paint but then go in with a finger or thumbs to squish the paint in further. Whether it was to hide brush strokes or to mix in with other colours, I don’t know but it was fascinating to view the result.

You can tell he loved the people of Lancashire. Each painting of the landscape of factories, chimneys and terraced houses bathed in the smog has its own special atmosphere. The people he painted were a mix of individuals getting through a day, groups of people either in peaceful conversation or fighting, snogging, cuddling; every human interaction you can think of. My husband, also a Lancashire lad, was so excited to see the views he recognised as a child. It was so much fun for us to find the individual stories within the paintings. We could have spent all day on just one.

Lowry didn’t just paint views of factories and groups of people. He also painted landscapes and seascapes. The seascapes were a joy to behold. I didn’t expect that at all. The painting he calls his best piece of art is a painting of the sky and sea, called ‘Seascape’ 1952, with no land or any type of features to be seen. He was ridiculed for this simple painting, but he considered this his finest piece of art. It took him eighteen months to create. He didn’t just slap it on, you can tell he took his time over it.

He painted quite a few portraits and the most striking is a portrait of a lady he called ‘Ann’ 1957. There is some doubt on the reality of the lady. Some believe he had made her up. After his death, they discovered paintings of women painted by Rosetti which may have inspired him to paint ‘Ann’.

At first, I thought Lowry was a lonely man. He lived with his parents and after his father died his mother became bedridden. He looked after her, worked as a rent collector and painted in his spare time. He never married or had any girlfriends, yet the more I discover about him the more I realise he was just a private man who enjoyed time with his friends but also, liked his own company.

I would highly recommend the award-winning film ‘Mrs Lowry and Son’ with Venessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall and then visit The Lowry in Manchester. A truly brilliant experience and one I hope to repeat again and again.

Nicola Crook viewing Lowry paintings
Visiting Lowry

Nicola Crook viewing 'Mill Scene 1965'
The Lowry, Manchester 'Mill Scene' 1965

Nicola Crook view a photo of Lowry
Laurence Stephen Lowry at work