Lowry was more of a football fan than a cricket supporter [see lot 138], however, he did execute a number of paintings including the present work for which he took advice regarding fielding positions from his long-standing friend, Alick Leggat, who was for many years Honorary Treasurer of the Lancashire County Cricket Club.
In the present work, painted in 1952, the players are completely dwarfed by the industrial landscape that surrounds them. It is typical of the way that Lowry chose to depict the world around him, that even in people's leisure time, they were still not able to escape the daily grind of their work lives. He commented, 'I've a one track mind ... I only deal in poverty. Always with gloom. You'll never see a joyous picture of mine. I never do a jolly picture. You never see the sun in my work. That's because I can't paint shadows. I kept trying for years ... I decided to be entirely false. All my pictures are false, without shadows' (quoted in J. Spalding, exhibition catalogue, Lowry, Middlesbrough, Cleveland Art Gallery, 1987, p. 39).
Other paintings that Lowry painted depicting cricket matches are rare, however, they include Lancashire League Cricket Match: Crowd Around a Cricket Sight Board 1964-69 (sold in these rooms 19 November 2004, lot 124 for £677,250) (fig. 1), and A Cricket Match 1938 (sold Sotheby's, London, 19 June 1996, lot 48).