Painted in 1961, the present work combines a number of important motifs that Lowry referred to throughout his oeuvre: a lonely building, empty landscape, the contraption, solitary figures and animals. Lowry generally rejected interpretative readings of his work, however, the later landscapes often do not correspond to accurate geographical places but are painted with combined elements that enhance the overall mood of the work.
The desolate emptiness implied in the landscape of Lady crossing a bridge is typical and this feature can be compared to the similarly dated work, House by the Sea (sold Christie's, London, 23 November 2001, lot 100). Lowry was determined to paint only the essentials of a landscape, cutting away everything that was not central to his meaning (see M. Howard, Lowry A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, p. 220). John Rothenstein, in his chapter on Lowry in Modern English Painters (1956) wrote, 'Everything can go but this stark, bare rocky directness of statement, this alone makes poetry today'.
The present work is not simply an empty landscape because figures are included: a woman crossing the bridge, followed by a child and a group of people gathered in the foreground. As with other works by the artist, although these figures are gathered together, they each seem to inhabit their own space, cut off from each other, remaining alone and lonely. Lowry commented to Mervyn Levy, 'All those people in my pictures they are all alone, you know. They have all got their private sorrows, their own absorptions. But they can't contact one another. We are all of us alone - cut off. All my people are lonely. Crowds are the most lonely thing of all. Everyone is a stranger to everyone else. You have only got to look at them to see that' (see M. Howard, op. cit., p. 133).