Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Property from the Estate of Marjorie Swindells
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)

Mrs Swindells' Picture; Figures in a Street

Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Mrs Swindells' Picture; Figures in a Street
signed and dated 'LS LOWRY 1967' (lower right)
oil on canvas
16 x 12 in. (40.6 x 30.5 cm.)
A gift from the artist to the present owner's mother-in-law, and by descent.
T.G. Rosenthal, L.S. Lowry - The Art and the Artist, Norwich, 2010, p. 291, illustrated.
The Lowry, Salford, on long term loan, 2000-2010.

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Lot Essay

The present composition features Albion Mill looming over the often-featured blue fence on the right hand side of the painting, with St Mary's Church, Swinton, in the distance. This was a view that Lowry painted and adapted over a very long period, and represents one of his most popular painting landscapes. Here in 1967 Lowry includes a large number of people in the foreground; this is in sharp contrast with examples of pictures from the 1940s of the same subject, which can be dark and empty of passers-by, in his attempt to demonstrate his own anguish and loneliness after the death of his mother in 1939.

Bessie Swindells was Lowry's housekeeper; she had arrived in 1954, to help out for two weeks and stayed until his death in 1976. She lived half a mile away and walked up the hill to The Elms every day for twenty-two years to clean the house and to do his laundry. Lowry painted the present work for her in recognition of her long years of housekeeping and friendship.

Bessie told her family about the painting being created for her, and her grand-daughter insisted that it should have a cat in the picture. Lowry obliged by putting it under the fence on the right hand side, staring out at the seated dog. Bessie could not decide on a title for her picture, so Lowry named it Mrs Swindells' Picture.

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