The present work was painted in 1963, a year after Lowry was elected Royal Academician. In it Lowry has portrayed a group of people, dressed in their Sunday best, walking in an orderly fashion and the gaggle of children at the front are the only ones not stepping out in time with each other.
The period around Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter, is known as Whitsuntide and one of the traditions in the area around Manchester, that Lowry would have been very familiar with, is the practice of 'Whit Walks'. Depending on the area, these walks take place on different days of the week and one of the traditions of the Whit Walks is for those who take part to wear new clothes for this occasion. The origin of wearing new clothes for this walk came from the tradition of newly baptised members being received into the church at Whitsun. This tradition is still continued in Manchester and the 2006 event will be the city's 207th Whit Walk. Last year 3,000 people were involved in the processions, but in Lowry's day there would have been up to 30,000 people involved in these walks. This type of event would have appealed to him as it involved a cross-section of society united together in this tradition (see S. Rohde, L.S. Lowry: A Biography, Salford, 1979, p. 139).
There are no background details included in this work and the figures stride out against a Lowry's trademark flake white background. Michael Howard notes that 'Lowry became 'increasingly fond of whites. I began to notice how they changed with time. I remember it was in 1924 I got a little piece of wood and painted it flake white six times over. Then I let it dry and sealed it up; and I left it like that for six or seven years. At the end of that time I did the same thing again on another piece of board, opened up the first piece I'd painted and compared the two. The recent one was of course dead white, but the first had turned a beautifully creamy grey-white. And then I knew what I wanted' ... Lowry's use of white may also owe something to du Fresnoy, who wrote: 'Pure unmix'd White either draws an object nearer, or carries it off to further distance: It draws nearer with black, and throws it backward without it. But as for pure Black there is nothing which brings the object nearer to the Sight' (see Lowry: A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, pp. 109-10).