Lowry draws us immediately into the heart of the composition, with a central viewpoint looking directly at Eros and down Shaftesbury Avenue. The understated colours on the well-known buildings which form the backdrop to the work, carefully deepen the perspective. Lowry has employed a darker palette for the billboards at the edges of the work which give way to lighter hues at the centre, drawing us down into the misty distance of Shaftesbury Avenue, following the queue of red buses. The celebrated silhouette of the memorial fountain with Eros perched on top is boldly contrasted against the clean white ground with two familiar lamp-posts standing guard. This juxtaposition is reminiscent of the artist’s treatment of churches and municipal statues in his northern landscapes, for example A Street Scene, St Simon's Church (1928, City of Salford Art Gallery) in which the church is painted in a heavy black pigment against the industrial haze.
The first of two known paintings of Piccadilly Circus by the artist, the present work was originally commissioned by the founders of a British film distribution and production company. When it first emerged onto the open market in 1998, the picture achieved a landmark result for Lowry’s work: it was purchased by A.J. Thompson for a world record price of £562,000, taking the price for Lowry's work at auction to over half a million pounds for the very first time.
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