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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

Glasgow Docks

Glasgow Docks
signed and dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1947' (lower right)
oil on canvas
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm.)
Painted in 1947.
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, London.
Anonymous sale; Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, 28 November 2006, lot 144.
with Richard Green, London, 2006.
Robin Batchelor.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2018.
Exhibition catalogue, L.S. Lowry, London, Richard Green, 2007, n.p., no. 61, illustrated.
T.G. Rosenthal, L.S. Lowry: The Art and the Artist, Norwich, 2010, p. 126, illustrated.
London, Richard Green, L.S. Lowry, November 2007, no. 61.
Salford, The Lowry, on long term loan.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. Christie's has provided a minimum price guarantee and has a direct financial interest in this lot. Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold. See the Important Notices in the Conditions of Sale for more information.

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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Lowry was a regular visitor to Berwick after his mother's death in 1939, but he did not venture north of the border into Scotland until the end of war. He visited Glasgow in 1946 and 1947 and the present work is one of a small number of major paintings he made of Princes Dock on the Clyde produced from many sketches and drawings executed during his visits. Another example, Cranes and Ships, Glasgow Docks, from the same year, is in the collection of Glasgow Museums and Galleries.
Lowry was drawn to the heavy industry of the docks in Scotland and on the North East coast at Sunderland, just as Salford and the River Irwell had provided such a rich source of inspiration throughout his long career. It was not just the industry that attracted his notice, but his love of shipping, and for water, particularly the sea, that drew such a dramatic response from him: Lowry's earliest and latest works depicted boats and the sea, and in his paintings of water he spoke in the most emotive terms of the human condition represented by the sea of life. The only titled self-portraits that he painted depicted obelisks rising out of a dark, choppy sea: 'I think one day I will paint a self-portrait; I've had an idea. A tall straight pillar standing up in the middle of the sea, waiting for the sea of life to finish it off' (see Self Portrait II, sold in these Rooms, 20 October 2022, lot 183).
Glasgow Docks, 1947, depicts a bustling industrial scene in which working men travel across the picture foreground forming smaller groups as they chat, congregate to have a discussion, or just pass the time of day. A larger group in the middle distance are moving together towards two large ships docked in the port which dominate the right-hand side of the composition and create a counterpoint to the sheds and buildings opposite. The whole composition is dominated in the top section of the picture by a number of cranes on the distant horizon, with a nearer black crane loading one of the ships and hovering over the entire foreground, just as a tall mill and smoking chimney would be depicted in a factory scene in Salford. Lowry has translated the motifs of his industrial paintings from the panoramas of factory life in Manchester to the heavy industry of the thriving Princes Dock, positioning his perspective from a high view point in order to contain the majesty of the whole bustling area, and to give a sense of the scope of his canvas as his figures walk out into the far distance.
'Some people like to go to the theatre, some like to watch television, I just like watching ships' L.S. Lowry
Lowry presents to the viewer a busy and dynamic cameo of an important landmark and its place at the heart of British industry. The shipyards in the Clyde side area of Glasgow had been the target of heavy bombing by the Luftwaffe in March 1941 but miraculously much of the industry survived and Clydebank was able to continue to pay an important part in wartime manufacturing, including supplying the Royal Navy. When Lowry visited the area just after the Second World War, he took the opportunity to represent thriving industry at the docks and to celebrate the enormous cranes that were used to load large steam locomotives for exportation and to fit ships engines. Princes Dock represented the triumph of ship building and manufacturing over the devastating effects of two World Wars, before this industry became part of the general decline of manufacturing in the British Isles in later decades.

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