Pencil on Paper
Laurence Stephen Lowry RBA RA was born in Greater Manchester in 1887. His drawings and paintings mainly depict Pendlebury, Lancashire as well as Salford and its vicinity. Lowry is famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districts of North West England in the mid-20th century.
After leaving school, Lowry began a career working for the Pall Mall Company, later collecting rents. He would spend some time in his lunch hour at Buile Hill Park and in the evenings took private art lessons in antique and freehand drawing. In 1905, he secured a place at the Manchester School of Art, where he studied under the French Impressionist, Pierre Adolphe Valette. In 1915 he moved on to the Royal Technical Institute, Salford (now the University of Salford) where his studies continued until 1925. There he developed an interest in industrial landscapes and began to establish his own style.
Lowry's oil paintings were originally impressionistic and dark in tone but D. B. Taylor of the Manchester Guardian took an interest in his work and encouraged him to move away from the sombre palette he was using. Taking this advice on board, Lowry began to use a white background to lighten the pictures. He developed a distinctive style of painting and is best known for his urban landscapes peopled with human figures, often referred to as "matchstick men". He also painted mysterious unpopulated landscapes, brooding portraits and the unpublished "marionette" works, which were only found after his death. When he had no sketchbook, Lowry drew scenes in pencil or charcoal on the back of envelopes, serviettes and cloakroom tickets and presented them to young people sitting with their families.