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L.S. Lowry RA 1887-1976

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L.S. Lowry - Study For The River Irwell

Study For The River Irwell, 1924

Pencil drawing
13 x 19¾ ins (33.02 x 50.17 cms)

Sorry this item is sold


The Artist
A gift to Mr & Mrs L. Ives in 1974
Clark Art Ltd
Private Collection

Exhibition History

Staley Bridge, Astley, Cheetham, Art Gallery, L.S.Lowry, November -December 1983,


L.S. Lowry The Centenary Exhibition, Salford Art Gallery in association with The South Bank Board, 1987, fig 2 (not exhibited).
There are a number of drawings of this subject which was a key formative image in the evolution of the artist's industrial vocabulary. An oil painting of an imaginary view based on these drawings entitled " River Scene" is in the City of Glasgow collection. This oil is illustrated in M. Leber and J. Sandling (Eds.) L.S. Lowry, Oxford and Salford Art Gallery, 1987, no 20, pl 21.
This drawing was selected for the Salford L.S. Lowry Centenary Exhibition in 1987 and was reproduced on page 1 in the catalogue but was subsequently exchanged for Salford's own drawing of the same view.

General Notes

Study for the River Irwell comes from a collection 17 Lowry paintings and drawings bought directly from the artist by his friends, Lawrence and Daphne Ives. The collection was sold at Christies in November 2000 and sold for £450,000.

Lawrence and Daphne Ives moved to Mottram-in-Longdendale, where L.S. Lowry had lived at The Elms since 1948. In 1959 a chance meeting with a local resident alerted them to the presence of an artist in the village: There's a chap in the Village who's a right take-on. This chap does a bit of drawing and painting but they're not up to much. He passes under the name of Lowry. The art-loving couple were delighted by the unexpected news and Lawrence Ives recalls, The sun shone, angels flew around the house and joy reigned all around. That evening my wife set off to The Elms as the advance guard, she left around 8.30pm and came back after midnight. Incredible, fascinating, a lovely man Daphne said,It's your turn tonight. So I went and thus began a friendship that lasted until Lowry died.

Throughout the 1960's Ives and Lowry spent more than two hundred evenings together at The Elms or at the Ives's home. As child psychologists, the couple understood the artist's complex personality and Lawrence quickly realised that he should never ask to buy a painting or a drawing from Lowry. Lowry told him They come to me with their tongues hanging out. They sit and admire; they want to go away with a little memento of Mr. Lowry. A little picture they will look at until they sell it in Bond Street. Instead it was Lowry who began their collection by offering to sell them a painting (A Group of People), but the price was a source of great amusement to the artist, as he usually charged £100, Lowry offered to cut this by two-thirds because a student grant of £500 was all the family had to live on. This discount continued for every purchase they made.

The sources of the subjects in Lowry's work fascinated the couple, almost as much as the pictures themselves. A Court, Manchester (lot50) was painted for the couple in 1963. Lowry said I Suppose you want an industrial?, but instead they asked for a painting that showed the different stages of childhood. A year later Lowry telephoned from the phonebox at the end of the road: This is L.S. Lowry and I've got that picture for you. Lawrence went to The Elms immediately to view the work. Lowry explained: It's a court off Deansgate. I have put lots of children in it for you, and Lawrence told him: I think that the man in the doorway represents you now - the watcher- and the boy staring out in the near foreground is you as a child alone. Lowry was keen to know if the picture had received Lawrence's approval and he even repainted the fence post before signing the painting.


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