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Town
And Street Scenes

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Critical Review

As captured in his Town and Street Scenes prints, Lowry’s paintings offer a unique, sentimental insight into British industrial modern life. Comprising pieces like Burford Church, The Football Match and Berwick Upon Tweed, Lowry’s representations of city life can offer an intimate look into the social reality of North British industrial cities.

While each depiction refers to a single city that the artist visited throughout his lifetime, these artworks fascinate the contemporary viewer in their oscillation between specificity and universality. While individual elements are used to signal and signpost a specific place, Lowry’s depictions and his ‘stylised realism’ suggest that the ambition behind the pieces is that of representing the entire reality of modern industrial life and the commonality of experiences shared by the laborious working-class across the North. As Lowry admitted, "Most of my land and townscape is composite. Made up; part real and part imaginary ... bits and pieces of my home locality. I don't even know I'm putting them in. They just crop up on their own, like things do in dreams.” That is, Lowry’s pieces oscillate between what has been called his “concern for the local” and a universalising ambition of synthesising the differential experiences of different people in a singular experience defined by the industrial landscape.