Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English artist born on Barrett Street, Stretford, in Lancashire. Many of his drawings and paintings depict nearby Salford and the surrounding areas, including Pendlebury, which is where he lived and worked for over 40 years.
As a young boy, Lowry lived in the leafy Manchester suburb of Victoria Park. Lack of finances resulted in the family then having to move to Station Road, Pendlebury, Salford – a far more industrial landscape than Lowry had been used to. Lowry would recall “At first I detested it, and then, after years I got pretty interested in it, then obsessed by it.”
Lowry studied both at the Manchester Academy of Fine Art and at Salford Royal Technical College in Peel Park, close to where he lived. Tutored by the likes of the famed French impressionist Adolphe Valette, and inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite artists Ford Madox Brown and Rossetti, Lowry understood how the power of art and artists could influence the representation of landscapes. Lowry felt that drawings were as hard to do as painting. He worked the surface of his drawings by smudging, erasing and rubbing the pencil lines on his paper to build the atmosphere of the drawing. Lowry developed his own individual style, gathering inspiration from the surrounding landscape of busy cotton mills, terraced houses and the bustle of the working classes.
Best known for his depictions of industrial Manchester and Salford and “matchstick men,” his work covers a wide range of subject matter including seascapes, landscapes and portraits, among which are the oil paintings of his mother and father which he kept on display in his home throughout his life.