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Biography of L.S. Lowry

Photo of L.S. Lowry

L.S. Lowry was a twentieth century painter of industrial scenes.

When and Where was he Born?

1st November 1887, Stretford, Manchester, England. Christened Laurence Stephen Lowry.

Family Background:

Lawrence Stephen Lowry was the only child of Irish born R.S. Lowry and Elizabeth Hobson.

Education:

Local School in Victoria Park and privately tutored by William Fitz. Municipal College of Art (Now Manchester Metropolitan University) under Adolphe Vallette.

Timeline of L.S. Lowry:

1904: Lowry finds work as a clerk in a Manchester firm of accountants.

1905: He goes to study art at Manchester School of Art in the evenings (until 1915).

1909: Lowry moves with his parents to Pendlebury in Salford, now part of Greater Manchester.

1910: He obtains a job as a rent collector with a Manchester company where he was to stay for the next 42 years. His vision of the working class streets was formed in this period whilst he tramped the local streets.

1915: Lowry begins evening classes at Salford School of Art where he first developed his distinctive style of matchstick figures (until 1925).

1918: Lowry studies at the life classes in the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts.

1919: He exhibits for the first time at Manchester Art Gallery.

1921: Lowry exhibits work with two other artists in an architect’s offices in Manchester and receives promising reviews in the Manchester Guardian.

1930’s: Lowry begins exhibiting at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly in London.

1932: Death of his father leaving substantial debts which he becomes responsible for as well as looking after his mother.

1939: Lowry has his first solo exhibition at the Lefevre gallery in London and sells many of his works. In October his mother Elizabeth Lowry dies after many years of being bedridden and nursed by her son.

1945: Lowry is awarded an Honorary MA at Manchester University.

1948: He leaves Pendlebury when his landlord repossesses his house and moves to Mottram-in-Longendale in Cheshire, where he lived until his death.

1950’s: He visits his long time friend Geoffrey Bennett several years running, who had become the Manager at the National Westminster Bank in Cleator Moor, Cumbria. Lowry painted a picture of the bank and other local scenes.

1960’s: Lowry was painting many landscapes and seascapes at this period and he makes several visits to the north east of England, particularly Sunderland where he often chooses the view from his bedroom at the Seaburn Hotel as his subject matter.

1961: Lowry is awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Manchester University.

1962: L.S. Lowry is elected as a Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Geoffrey Bennet becomes an Anglican clergyman.

1964: The Prime Minister Harold Wilson used his painting “The Pond” as his official Christmas Card.

The Lowry, Salford
“The Lowry” theatre and gallery in Salford on a former dock of the Manchester Ship Canal. 
Holds many of L.S. Lowry’s paintings (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1965: Lowry is made a Freeman of the City of Salford.

1967: The painting “Coming out of School” was used for a British Postage Stamp.

(1976): A major retrospective of Lowry’s work is held at the Royal Academy in London shortly after his death and it attracts record crowds.

When and Where did he Die?

23rd February 1976, in Woods Hospital in Glossop, Derbyshire, England from pneumonia.

Age at Death:

88.

Marriage:

Never married.

Site of Grave:

Chorlton Southern Cemetery next to his parents.

Places of Interest:

DERBY:

Buxton Art Gallery.
Derby Art Gallery.

LANCASHIRE:

Bury Art Gallery.

LEICESTERSHIRE:

Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester.

LONDON:

Tate Modern.
Science Museum.

GREATER MANCHESTER:

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5 2AZ. (Holds over 300 of his works).
Manchester Art Gallery.
Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester.

NORFOLK:

Castle Gallery, Norwich Castle.

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE:

Castle Art Gallery, Nottingham.

NORTHUMBERLAND:

The Lowry Trail, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Lowry was especially fond of Berwick and set many of his paintings there. Tourist trail organised in association with Northumberland County Council.

STAFFORDSHIRE:

Museum and Art gallery, Stoke on Trent.

YORKSHIRE:

Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield.

SCOTLAND:

Museum and Art Gallery, Kirkaldy.

WALES:

Museum and Art Gallery, Newport.

NORTHERN IRELAND:

Ulster Museum, Belfast.

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