L.S. Lowry is a much-loved British painter known for pictures that capture urban life in industrial north west England, most notably during the 1920s. Born in 1887 in Stretford, Lancashire, Laurence Stephen Lowry later moved to Pendlebury near Manchester where he lived and worked for over 40 years. The area, which he at first detested, was covered in factories and cotton mills that Lowry would soon obsessively depict. His fascination with the industrial landscapes and the people that inhabited them was inspired by a missed train. Standing on the platform at Pendlebury station, Lowry would later write of the view of the Acme Spinning Company’s mill, saying “I watched this scene – which I’d look at many times without seeing – with rapture.”

Working in a restricted palette of five colours – white, ivory black, vermilion, Prussian blue and yellow ochre – Lowry depicted landscapes, seascapes, portraits and surreal imaginings. The largest collection of his artwork is held by Salford City Council and displayed at The Lowry museum. From his first solo exhibition at London’s Alex Reid and Lefevre Gallery in 1939 to exhibitions at institutions such as the Tate Britain and the Royal Academy of Art, his influence, reputation and popularity continue to grow.

At a young age Lowry discovered a love for drawing, prompting his enrolment in private painting lessons. As his family’s move to Pendlebury was the result of financial troubles, Lowry had to seek work and inevitably push his interest in art to an after-work activity. For the entirety of his career Lowry was not a full time painter – until the age of 64 he worked as a rent collector, painting only in his free time.

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