L.S. Lowry in front of Piccadilly Circus (lot 14)


“My subjects were all around me … in those days there were mills and collieries all around Pendlebury. The people who worked there were passing, morning and night. All my material was on the doorstep.”

L.S. Lowry, quoted in Allen Andrews, The Life of L.S. Lowry, Jupiter Books, 1977



Laurence Stephen Lowry born on 1st November, Old Trafford, Manchester, the only son of Robert and Elizabeth Lowry.


After being rejected as a full-time student at the Manchester Municipal College of Art in 1903, Lowry continued to take private art classes in his own time. In 1905, Lowry begins evening classes at the Manchester Municipal College of Art, firstly in ‘preparatory antique and freehand drawing’, before progressing to Adolphe Valette’s life class in 1915.


Lowry and his parents move from their home on a private residential estate bordering Victoria Park to the industrial suburb of Pendlebury.


Lowry joins the Pall Mall Property Company, Manchester as a rent collector and clerk, where he would work until his retirement, a fact which did not become widely known until after his death


Lowry begins evening classes at the Salford School of Art, based in Peel Park, where he continues to study for the next decade.


Lowry has his first public exhibition with Roland Thomasson and Tom H Brown in Thomasson’s offices in Moseley Street. Although, none of Lowry’s paintings sell, Bernard D. Taylor, who was also his teacher at the Salford School of Art, writes a promising review in the Manchester Guardian.

Eventually, Lowry sells his first picture, The Lodging House, a work in pastel, for £5.


‘Mr Laurence S Lowry has a very interesting and individual outlook. His subjects are Manchester and Lancashire street scenes, interpreted with technical means as yet imperfect, but with real imagination....’

Extract from Bernard D. Taylor’s review of Lowry’s first show with Thomasson and Brown, published in The Guardian



Lowry’s Coming Out of School is bought for the Duveen Fund, a scheme run by the Tate Gallery to purchase works by contemporary British artists for loan to regional museums and touring exhibitions.


The Hawker’s Cart (lot 5)

Election Time
(lot 4)


A year after his work was first shown at the Paris Salon, Lowry’s first one-man exhibition of drawings is held at the Round House, Manchester. All the work is sold.


Lowry’s father dies in the year that Lowry is first exhibited at the Royal Academy, London. Lowry is left to look after his mother, whose health began to seriously decline, leaving him only free to paint late into the nights.


After the Fire
(lot 2)


Market Place, Berwick-Upon-Tweed
(lot 13)


A. J. McNeil Reid, Director of Alex. Reid and Lefevre Ltd, London, sees Lowry’s paintings while visiting the framers James Bourlet & Sons.

Street Musicians
(lot 11)


Alex. Reid and Lefevre Ltd holds Lowry’s first London one-man exhibition in their London gallery. In October, Lowry’s mother dies at their home in Pendlebury, and the artist is left devastated.


Major exhibition of Lowry’s work opens in Salford. The city council assembles a remarkable collection of Lowry’s work over subsequent decades, now held at The Lowry, Salford


Punch and Judy (lot 8)


Peel Park, Salford (lot 1)

A.J. Thompson born in Trumpington, Cambridge


Lowry contributes Punch and Judy to the School Prints Scheme.


During the 1940s, Lowry travels widely throughout Britain, spending as little time as possible at the home filled with memories of his late mother.

A River Bank
(lot 6)


Lowry moves to The Elms, Mottram in Longdendale where he lived until his death.


Lowry is commissioned by the newly formed Arts Council to produce a large painting for Sixty Paintings for ’51, alongside artists such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Ben Nicholson.


Andras Kalman puts on the first of three one man shows of Lowry’s work at his Crane Gallery, Manchester. When Kalman later moved to London in 1957, he continued to hold regular shows of the artist’s paintings. Lowry retires from the Pall Mall Property Company after 42 years of service.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquires one of Lowry’s works.


Lowry is appointed an official artist at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The painting he produced, Coronation Procession Passing Queen Victoria Memorial, is sent to the British Embassy in Moscow.

A Town Square
(lot 3)


Lowry is elected as an associate member of the Royal Academy of the Arts.


The Lowry Gallery, a permanent display of the artist’s work, is set up at Salford Art Gallery.


Following a retrospective of his work at the Salford Art Gallery in 1951, a second opens at the Manchester City Art Gallery.

Piccadilly Circus
(lot 10)


Piccadilly Circus, London
(lot 14)

Head of a Boy (lot 15)

(lot 9)


Elected a full member of the Royal Academy. Around this time, Lowry increasingly begins to focus on single figure studies and his ‘heads’.


To mark the artist’s 77th birthday, A Tribute to L.S. Lowry opens at the Monks Hall Museum, Eccles. British artists including Henry Moore, Victor Pasmore and Ivon Hitchens send works for exhibition, while the catalogue includes tributes from E.H. Gombrich and Kenneth Clark.


Arts Council touring exhibition of Lowry’s painting, ending at the Tate, London, to wide acclaim.


The General Post Office issues a stamp featuring one of Lowry’s industrial scenes.

A.J. Thompson sets up his waste paper recycling business.


The artist rejects a knighthood proposed by the Prime Minister on the New Year’s Honours list, one of the five offers of honours he would reject in his lifetime.


Lowry dies on 23rd February, just seven months before the opening of a major retrospective of his work at the Royal Academy, London.


Tony Thompson buys his first Lowry, Street Musicians, from Sotheby’s London.

“… a painter who cannot be labelled and docketed reminds us historians once more that it is the individual talent that counts in art and not that succession of collections, styles, fashions and movements that so often passes as the history of art... I am grateful for his existence and for the enjoyment his work has given to me and to so many who care for art...”

Professor E. H. Gombrich, A Tribute to L.S. Lowry on his 77th birthday, Monks Hall Museum, Eccles, 1 Nov 1965


Lowry: The A.J. Thompson Collection

25 MARCH 2014 | LONDON