L. S. Lowry and the Image of the North

A Lecture Exploring Lowry’s Contribution to Britain’s Image of the North

Recent exhibitions have done much to dispel the myth of L.S. Lowry as a neglected genius and an untaught ‘primitive’ painter. This talk will look at Lowry’s debt to his mentor, Adolphe Valette, and will discover echoes of Egon Schiele and le Sidaner in his desolate empty cities. It will also compare the rhythm and layering of his landscapes to those of Ben Nicholson and others.

It will examine Lowry’s portrayal of Salford in the context of George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, Robert Roberts’ The Classic Slum, and Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey. It will relate his paintings to Humphrey Spender’s photographs of Bolton in the 1930’s and compare his gritty northern imagery to the colour photographs of John Bulmer. A final section will explore other portrayals of northern working class life through the photographs of John Davies and Martin Parr, sixties film classics and episodes of Coronation Street.