Northern Design Scene: L. S. Lowry

Laurence Stephen Lowry, was born in Salfold, Manchester in 1887. Many of his paintings and drawing were directly inspired by and depicted Manchester cityscapes.suicide lowry

An Accident (1926) – The scene depicted here shows a crowd forming around a women found to have committed suicide.

In Lowry’s early life he worked as a dept collector only painting at the weekend and evenings. However this job enabled him to meet many people and walk the streets of Manchester giving him his inspiration for his paintings.

Lowry is famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial scenes in the mid-20th century. Rather than creating straightforward representations of real places, he would paint scenes that were made up of a number of different, often imaginary people and places.

Head of a Boy (1960)

Head of a Boy (1960) – This oil on board painting seems to be partly based on his own image.

His paintings are pretty dark and gloomy, but are quite beautiful. The scenes he depicts of an industrial city really capture the heart of what Manchester is all about.

Lowry painted numerous scenes of factories and mills with crowds of workers. Lowry was quoted to have spoken about this theme and said;

“I was facinated by the people who lived and worked in them. A country landscape is fine without people, but an industrial landscape without people is an empty shell. A street is not a street without people.”

city lowry

Coming Home from the Mill (1928)

You can see displays of Lowry’s work at the Manchester Art Gallery and the Lowry theatre & gallery

Lowry at Home: Unseen Photos by Clive Arrowsmith, Salford 1966

While visiting the Lowry theatre & gallery this year, I spotted a wonderful exhibition of previously unseen photographs by celebrated 60s fashion and portrait photographer, Clive Arrowsmith.

Arrowsmith has photographed for British and French Vogue, Harper’s, The Sunday Times Magazine and Vanity Fair. He has taken portraits of well known names such as Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Yves Saint Laurent and Damien Hirst.

Over 2 days in 1966, Arrowsmith was commissioned to photograph Lowry at his home in Salford. Although some pictures were published in Nova Magazine, the rest were forgotten until they were found in Arrowsmith’s attic last year. Take a look at a few of my favourites in the gallery below.



About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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