I was recently reminded of the work of LS Lowry (1887 – 1976) – my mother had a book of his and I remember spending many an hour mesmerised by his work and by how much detail he could get into those seemingly detailess figures.
In his early years Lowry lived in the leafy Manchester suburb of Victoria Park. Then lack of money obliged his family to move to Station Road, Pendlebury, where factory chimneys were a more familiar sight then trees. Lowry would recall “At first I detested it, and then, after years I got pretty interested in it, then obsessed by it.” The subjects for his paintings were on his doorstep. In later life he recalled this as a sort of vision. “One day I missed a train from Pendlebury – (a place) I had ignored for seven years – and as I left the station I saw the Acme Spinning Company’s mill … The huge black framework of rows of yellow-lit windows standing up against the sad, damp charged afternoon sky. The mill was turning out… I watched this scene – which I’d looked at many times without seeing – with rapture…”
It is the paintings of these industrial areas that made him famous – there is now a whole arts venue in his name in Manchester, The Lowry. It’s great to see when legacies continue and are used to nurture new talent.