L. S. Lowry’s lithograph Market Scene in Northern Town from 1973 shows an image teeming with figures depicted in the artist’s characteristic style, with the market stalls in the middle ground and industrial landscape in the faint backdrop. Much like many of Lowry’s scenes, this print is depicted in a limited palette of muted colours. Lowry often claimed to use just five colours in his paintings, vermillion, ivory black, Prussian blue, yellow ochre and flake white.
There has been much speculation over where this scene was painted, considering that many of Lowry’s paintings, although inspired by real places, were composite images with buildings moved and edited to create a more pleasing composition. However, it is likely that this scene is of Pendlebury Market where Lowry lived and worked.
Despite the busy, swarm of people that creates a sense of bustle to the image, like many of Lowry’s works there is a solemn and lonely element to this print. The figures, though in close proximity to one another, seem isolated from one another and from the viewer who looks to the bustling crowd from an elevated distance. Lowry’s Market Scene in Northern Town makes clear his view on the condition of loneliness experienced as a result of modern industrial life in the city.