Thursday, 1 November 2012

L.S. Lowry and Berwick-upon-Tweed

I see from Google this would have been L.S. Lowry’s 125th birthday today! One of Britain’s most loved artists, Lowry was especially fond of Berwick-upon-Tweed, on the border between England and Scotland. I love Lowry's paintings and was delighted to come across a Lowry Trail at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in Manchester in 1887, and moved to Salford in 1909. He is often referred to as ‘The Matchstick Man’, after the style of many of his paintings, which depict matchstick-like people going about their daily work and play.

Lowry evidently visited Berwick many times from the mid-1930s until the summer before he died, in 1976 and owned a rare guide to the town published around 1938: A Guide to Berwick-upon-Tweed, written by Alex Steven. Often staying at the Castle Hotel, Lowry evidently once thought about buying a house on the Elizabethan walls. Berwick’s Lowry Trail, along those same walls, identifies the sites of some of the artist’s finest paintings and drawings of the town.

These include the Town Hall, an oil on canvas painting of the impressive Georgian building; The Lions, the painting of a local historic house with two lions dating from 1807; Football Match, an undated drawing in pencil and pen; An Old Street in Berwick-upon-Tweed, an oil painting of an old street in Berwick in 1952 with Lowry's signature matchstick figures walking in the narrow street.

L.S. Lowry painted or drew between 2000 and 3000 pieces of work until his death in 1976, and he remains an increasingly popular British artist.


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