The Lowry Collection includes almost 400 paintings and drawings by LS Lowry alongside an extensive archive of photographs, press cuttings and exhibition catalogues relating to Lowry’s life and career.


Art Unlocked is an online talk series by Art UK in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies. This Curation was created by Claire Stewart, Curator of the Lowry Collection. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Claire, who was originally scheduled to deliver the talk, was unable to. You can watch a recording of the talk, given by Michael Simpson, Director of Visual Arts at The Lowry, on 1st February 2023, on Art UK's YouTube channel.

Artists featured in this Curation: Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
6 artworks
  • Market Scene, Northern Town

    Market Scene, Northern Town is a classic Lowry crowd scene, but in this instance showing people at their leisure rather than travelling to or from work. Pendlebury Market, close to the artist’s home in Station Road, Pendlebury, provided the initial inspiration but the details of the location and individual buildings are invented.


    Lowry often uses a single, horizontal line of paint in the foreground of his pictures to hint at the edge of a kerb and to distance the viewer from the main subject matter. Here one or two figures step over this boundary line, helping to lead the viewer’s eye in to the busy, bustling heart of the market.

    Market Scene, Northern Town 1939
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 45.7 x W 61.1 cm
    The Lowry Collection, Salford
    Market Scene, Northern Town
    © The Lowry Collection, Salford. Image credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford

  • The Lake

    This is one of Lowry’s most desolate and bleak landscapes. Fence posts in the foreground resemble tombstones and this industrial landscape seems abandoned to its fate. The people huddle in small groups at the margins.


    The stagnant pool of water derives from the polluted River Irwell, which formed the boundary between Manchester and Salford and frequently flooded. Lowry’s job as rent collector and clerk for the Pall Mall property Company meant that he visited tenants in some of the poorest districts of Manchester and Salford but he was wary of his industrial scenes being viewed as social comment: ‘Don’t start thinking I was trying to put over some message … I just painted what I saw.’

    The Lake 1937
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 43.4 x W 53.5 cm
    The Lowry Collection, Salford
    The Lake
    © The Lowry Collection, Salford . Image credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford

  • A View from the Window of the Royal Technical College, Salford

    This view, from a balcony of the Royal Technical College (now the Peel Building of the University of Salford), looks towards the centre of Salford. It is one of Lowry’s boldest compositions. Instead of a distant array of mill chimneys along the horizon, one huge chimney in the foreground dominates and partly blocks the view, running top to bottom of Lowry’s paper. Salford School of Art was based in the Royal Technical College and Lowry attended life drawing classes there for many years, having previously attended similar classes at Manchester School of Art.


    The building overlooked Peel Park, Salford’s largest green space. ‘From the start I have been very fond of this view and have put it in many paintings’, Lowry recalled.

    A View from the Window of the Royal Technical College, Salford 1924
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Pencil on paper
    H 54.4 x W 37.5 cm
    The Lowry Collection, Salford
    A View from the Window of the Royal Technical College, Salford
    © The Lowry Collection, Salford . Image credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford

  • Head of a Man

    Head of a Man was painted a year before Lowry’s mother died in 1939. After his father’s death in 1932 she had been confined to bed with Lowry as her principal carer. He often painted late into the night after she had gone to sleep and described many of his paintings at that time as completed ‘under stress and tension’. ‘It started as a self-portrait. I thought, “What’s the use of it? I don’t want it and nobody else will.” … In all those heads of the late thirties I was trying to make them as grim as possible. I reflected myself in those pictures.’

    Head of a Man 1938
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 50.7 x W 41 cm
    The Lowry Collection, Salford
    Head of a Man
    © The Lowry Collection, Salford. Image credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford

  • Seascape

    The sea was a constant source of inspiration for Lowry from childhood when he drew yachts off the coast of North Wales or Lytham St Anne’s on family holidays. After a trip to Anglesey in the 1940s he started to paint ‘nothing but the sea … with no shore and nobody sailing on it.’ Lowry sometimes described these works as an escape, or relaxation, but he also described them as expressions of loneliness or as embodying the ‘battle of life’. Despite the calm water their very emptiness can be unsettling, hinting at sinister undercurrents below.

    Seascape 1952
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 39.5 x W 49.3 cm
    The Lowry Collection, Salford
    Seascape
    © The Lowry Collection, Salford . Image credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford

  • Going to the Match

    Going to the Match, painted in 1953, is probably LS Lowry’s best-known and most popular picture. It has become an enduring representation of what match day means to fans. Typically, Lowry’s focus is not on the players or the game but on the crowds streaming towards the ground.


    It depicts Burnden Park, the home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club at the time, which was within walking distance of Lowry’s home. Bolton reached the FA Cup final that year but lost to Blackpool 3-4. Also in 1953, the Football Association celebrated its 90th anniversary with a competition - Football and the Fine Arts. Going to the Match beat 1,700 entries to win first prize in the painting category.

    Going to the Match 1953
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 71 x W 91.5 cm
    The Lowry Collection, Salford
    Going to the Match
    © The Estate of L.S. Lowry. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2023. Image credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford