Punch And Judy is a typical scene by L. S. Lowry from 1943, showing a mass of people from all walks of life going about their daily business. As with many of the artist’s works, this scene is depicted in simple colours. Lowry often claimed to use just five colours in his paintings, vermillion, ivory black, Prussian blue, yellow ochre and flake white.
As implied by the print’s title, the background of this scene shows crowds of people gathering to watch the traditional British puppet show ‘Punch and Judy’ that features the characters Mr. Punch and his wife Judy. These puppet booths were iconic features of English seaside resorts and working class leisure time, and so this subject is apt for Lowry in his depiction of working people on their days off in town.
The composition is crammed full of people, providing the print with the frenetic energy of city life. 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.