Volume 40 Issue 1, July 2007

Volume 40 Issue 1

LS Lowry: The Pond, 1950, oil on canvas.

(c) The Estate of L S Lowry, 2007

Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976) was born in a suburb of Manchester, England. Although seen as solitary and reclusive (he lived in the same small out-dated house in Cheshire for the last 28 years of his life), his gift for observation allowed him to depict with sympathy and humour the scenes of life in the industrial areas of northern England during the early 20th century, from which he drew his inspiration.

While working as a clerk, he studied at the Manchester College of Art and Salford School of Art. He was slow to establish a reputation but from 1927 he exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in Paris and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. During the Second World War he became a war artist. In 1962 he was elected a Royal Academician. Although he accepted many honorary degrees, Lowry holds the record for declining the most honours offered by the British government: the Order of the British Empire (1955), Commander of the British Empire (1961), knighthood (1968), and Companion of Honour in 1972 and 1976. ‘The Pond’ is an impressive industrial landscape containing many features typical of Lowry's work: smoking chimneys, terraced houses and, in the middle distance, the Stockport Viaduct. The scene is populated by his swarming impressionistic “matchstick” figures who bring the city's streets and open spaces to life.


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