Berwick-upon-Tweed, England's most northerly town, was a place often visited by Lowry after an initial stay in 1935 when he was encouraged by his doctor to take a break from the pressures of caring for his ailing mother. Lowry's visits to Berwick-upon-Tweed became more frequent after her death in 1939, and he often stopped there en route to Scotland. In time, he developed such a love of the town that he even considered a move there to a house on the sea front in the 1940s.
On Lowry's many visits to this traditional market town, he often depicted the harbour, the beaches, the River Tweed, and the narrow side streets leading into the market square. On this occasion, painted during or shortly after the artist's first sojourn, he portrays the lively market square, dominated by the striking presence of the Georgian town hall, which overpowers the skyline with its elongated tower. The darkness of the building contrasts strongly with the brightly painted shops and houses and the bustling movement of the community crossing from one side of the street to the other. Lowry presents us with a full cast of characters: many figures in the centre of the composition appear to be watching a couple on the steps of the town hall, while others form animated groups, and some single figures look out at the viewer. In the foreground, two of the artist's familiar black dogs follow a small boy across an open section of the road.
The proceeds of the sale of this work will enable Cambridgeshire Culture, a steering group made up of officers and members of all political parties, to continue to support the cultural experiences of children and young people across the county. The proceeds will continue the work already achieved under the Cambridgeshire Culture Programme and will be used in activities ranging from the visual and performing arts, film and media, literature, sport and heritage.