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L.S. Lowry RA 1887-1976

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L.S. Lowry - The Old Toll House on the Moors

The Old Toll House on the Moors, 1959

Oil on canvas
20 x 30 ins (50.80 x 76.20 cms)
Signed and dated

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with Lefevre Gallery, London, 1975.
Sir Gordon Newton; Sotheby's, London, 10 November 1981, lot 121
Private Collection

Exhibition History

The Lowry Centre Salford - Exhibited in multiple exhibitions since 2007


M. Levy, The Paintings of L.S. Lowry, London, 1975, pl. 77.
L.S. LOWRY - The Art and the Artist by T.G Rosenthal, Unicorn Press, 2010, illustrated.

General Notes

Michael Howard (Lowry, A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, pp. 213-4), comments on Lowry's later landscapes, 'It seems clear that his most effective mature landscapes are those that, even though empty of any sign of human activity, are nevertheless invested with human presence and meaning. They exude a sense of heaviness, an oppressive, catatonic stillness that comes close to the sublime landscapes of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Romantic painters. The geological irregularities of the vista are rounded into regularised, suggestive contours and the natural landscape is reorganised into a series of simple rhythmic patterns, reductive in both colour and line. There is no attempt to catalogue the sifting effects of the weather or light, and rarely do we see tractors or cars, or any other signs of the incidental activity that are the mark of a working landscape. There are in effect 'timeless' landscapes, inbued with a cold light that appears to emanate from the canvas itself. Lowry has found in these works painterly equivalents for certain visual effects of atmosphere that are particular to Northern hill landscape, and his roughened or, on occasion, faceted surfaces catch and reflect the light, laying bare the lineaments of the landscape to the eye of the viewer.

Lowry rejected the standard means of welcoming the viewer into his landscapes. One looks in vain for the stabilising repoussoir elements, such as trees and buildings to bracket and contain the scene. His roads, when they appear, are disjointed and, of course, there are no picturesque farm workers, cattle, sheep or even birds to enliven the view set before us. The compositional rhythms run across the canvas and the distance is suggested by overlapping forms, with often sharp, cut-out edges that further remove the image from the softness and roundedness of the natural landscape'.

Sir Gordon Newton (1907-1998), a previous owner of this work, was editor of the Financial Times, 1950-72.


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