1887 – 1976

Laurence Stephen Lowry RBA RA was an English artist whose works  focused on the industrial districts of Pendlebury and Salford, areas which he lived for 40 years. Lowry is best known for focusing on these urban landscapes and of course the famous so called ‘matchstick men’.

After a rocky beginning, Lowry focused his life to art, taking private art lessons before securing a place at the Manchester School of Art where he studied under the French impressionist Pierre Adolphe Vallette. In 1915, he moved on to the Royal Technical Institute, Salford where his studies continued until 1925. There he developed an interest in industrial landscapes and began to establish his own style.

Lowry’s oil paintings were dark in tone and impressionistic in style, however criticism from media outlets at the time led him to move away from the somber palette and begin to use lighter tones. He continued to painting industrial landscapes, however his holidays in Sunderland inspired him to paint beach scenes, nearby ports and also coal mines. Often, without a sketchpad to hand, Lowry would simply draw on old envelopes or even serviettes, offering them to people sitting nearby. Not surprisingly, these pieces now hold tremendous value and are often on display in public areas. This generosity is just one trait of Lowrys; many of his friends described him as being quirky as he collected clocks in his living room which were all set at different times. Some people said that this was because he did not want to know the real time; to others he claimed that it was to save him from being deafened by their simultaneous chimes.

Lowry worked befriended many artists during his time, not only taking inspiration from them but also supporting them buy purchasing there works from galleries and donating them to museums. In the 1960s Lowry shared exhibitions in Salford with Warrington-born artist Reginald Waywell D.F.A. Following his popularity, Lowry now has a purpose built gallery on Salford Quays names, in his honour, The Lowry. Its collection has about 400 works and X-ray analyses have revealed hidden figures under his drawings – the “Ann” figures. Despite the publicity that surrounded Lowrys work during his life, he remained a humble man rejecting five honours including a knighthood in 1968.

In 2013, a major retrospective opened at the Tate Britain in London, and soon after he has his first ever international solo exhibition which was held in Nanjing, China.



We do our best to use images that are open source. If you feel we have used an image of yours inappropriately please let us know and we will fix it.


Our writing can be sometimes a little out of date but we do our level best to ensure the material is accurate. If you believe we have made a mistake, please let us know.


If you are planning to see an artwork, please keep in mind that while the art we cover is held in permanent collections, pieces are sometimes removed from display for renovation or traveling exhibitions.