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Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)

Study for St Michael and All Angels, Angel Meadow, Manchester

Details
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976)
Study for St Michael and All Angels, Angel Meadow, Manchester
signed and dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1931' (lower right)
pencil
15 x 10¾ in. (38 x 27.3 cm.)
Provenance
An Employee of the Manchester Guardian, 1955; Bonhams, London, 2 December 2003, lot 80, where purchased by the present owner.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the provenance for the present work should read:

An Employee of the Manchester Guardian, 1955; Bonhams, London, 2 December 2003, lot 80, where purchased by Richard Green on behalf of the present owner.

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Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams

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Lot Essay

This wonderfully detailed drawing reminds me of one of those childhood games where one was faced with two apparently identical pictures in a puzzle book, printed in black on cheap white paper, where one had to enumerate the deliberate differences between the two images. This study has only half the number of inhabitants, i.e. 22 but it is, after all, only a sketch.

The biggest difference is that one can see more than half the church instead of having it almost entirely concealed. The church also has, instead of the somewhat evanescent slender spire, the huge, solid mass of a tower which is the central focal point, the dominant image of what one takes to be a deliberately accurate study of a genuine cityscape. Yet if one wants to select the image common to both oil painting and pencil study, it is not, for obvious reasons of its absence on the oil painting, the church tower of the study but it is the bomb-damaged, brief flight of steps deposited on the rather odd tongue of pavement which gives both works of art a genuine topographical eccentricity which is, whether real or not, quintessential Lowry.

In fact the pencil study is the more accurate of the two versions of a church which Lowry greatly admired as, like the real building, it has a massive tower. He painted this basic scene several times and there is a gap of ten years between the pencil drawing and the later oil painting.

T.G.R.

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