23rd February 1976. Lowry.
‘He did not try to be original. He just was original’, and wasn’t to be bought by the honours system as he declined an OBE in 1955; CBE in 1961; Knighthood in 1968; and the order of the Companion of Honour (CH) in 1972 and 1976, which is some kind of record for Honours declined.
E.H Gombrich, the art historian, ‘said there is no such thing as art there are only artists’, referring to Laurence Stephen Lowry who died Today in 1976 at the age of 88.
Bemused at his fame, he left most of his estate to Carol Lowry, no relation, whom he had befriended, paying for her education, after the fourteen year old had written to him.
Lowry has been patronized as the Manchester rent collector who lived with his mother, a naïve painter of the industrial scene. In fact he ended up as chief cashier, living in leafy Mottram, only maintaining his rent-round to observe his environment. He had studied widely-at Paris-for example, and maintained cultural relationship with The Guardian newspaper and local universities.
On a BBC Antiques Roadshow in 2000 a small naïve daub of a young girl bought in 1967 for £900 was valued at £20,000. In the same year, The Salford City Art Gallery with its great Lowry collection transferred to the new Lowry Arts Centre.
There is a statue of Lowry sitting on a bench, unveiled on January 2005 in Mottram in Longdendale, Greater Manchester.
In March 2009 a Burton-on-Trent dealer paid out £250,000 for a fake Lowry after apparently being verified by Bonham’s. In 2010 it was disclosed that Lowry’s milkman was given some drawings but disposed of them and regretted it ever since.
Lowry had friends in Burton-0n-Trent and in December 1960 drew a picture of the former brewery crossing at High Street Burton, called ‘Brewery Train’ was bought by a local collector. Another ‘The Surgery’ situated in Wetmore Road of 1961 is one of only six Lowry works featuring Burton and was the surgery relating to the GP who is mentioned below.
The painting ‘Wuthering Heights’ of 1942 was given to his friend the Professor of Bacteriology at Manchester University, and sold by his daughter, the wife of a Dr. Dickie a Burton GP, for £950 in 1976.