A large and superb drawing by Lowry full of close observation and wit unusually full of all of his most famous subjects including terraced houses, matchstick figures, mill, churches and dogs and cats. Children play with dogs and cats looking on. Young and old walk the streets and one person emerges from their doorway while another appears to go in. Ranks of identical terraced houses rise up from the street and atop all of this hubbub of life, three church spires, a mill and a tall mill chimney.
Everyday life is superbly conveyed and the dynamism of the local people is contrasted with the solidity of the rows upon rows of terraced houses and the permanence of the church. Lowry’s drawings are usually of scenes in Salford and neighbouring boroughs of Greater Manchester. This drawing bears marked similarities to those of Droylsden in Tameside which lies four miles east of Manchester city centre. Like most towns in Greater Manchester, Droylsden rapidly developed over the course of the nineteenth century, its transport links via canal, rail and road making it an attractive site for industry. Factories and mills replaced the traditional farming industry and by 1850 five cotton mills had become widely established.
By 1920 Lowry’s street scenes, peopled with workers, housewives and children set against a backdrop of industrial buildings and terraced houses, had become central to his highly personal style. From now on he painted and drew entirely from experience and believed that you should ‘paint the place you know’. His leisure time was spent walking the streets of Manchester and Salford making pencil sketches, recording anything that could be used in his work. In his early factory scenes the emphasis is placed on the buildings and the atmosphere was often dark and sombre; however, as he developed this theme the figures became more prominent and eventually he arrived at a marriage between the two where the figures and surroundings form a whole.
Lowry is remembered as a man of remarkable resilience and sensitivity; he stood alone, unaffected by the influences of other artists and his inspiration came entirely from his own experience. His paintings and drawings are now included in most important private and public collections in the United Kingdom and abroad.