Hello! I’m Helen Little, Assistant Curator of Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life.  Since the exhibition opened there have been some great reviews in the press, but I would also like to hear what you think

L.S. Lowry, Early Morning, 1954
L.S. Lowry, Early Morning, 1954

 If you have visited the show, what was it like seeing these urban scenes and industrial landscapes in person? I’d love to hear what you think about Lowry’s apocalyptic visions of the landscape or his connections to French Impressionism

Have you been able to look afresh at his best known work or have you discovered Lowry for the first time?  Let me know your views, stories and comments below. 

I hope you enjoyed this exhibition of one of Britain’s pre-eminent painters of modern life. You can read more about it on my Lowry blog, where you can also share your views. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts soon!


This exhibition – along with visiting Gielgud and Duke of York’s theaters – was one of the brightest points of my “cultural program” during current visit to London. I had discovered Lowry for myself somewhere about five or six year ago and – living not in UK – I knew his works only by printed images. It is widely known that any piece of visual art is better to explore “in close contact”, but I was really shocked (in positive sense) by the powerful impact of Lowry’s works which could be experienced only when you see his original works. I felt it most powerfully in his Urban Scenes series, where buildings and figures (being painted quite often on white or pale background) seem gradually are surrounding you so that you become a part of the story. And I noticed that though Lowry’s works usually are colonized by great number of humans (and animals sometimes), there is no figures painted just for the matter of filling the space of the picture. Every figure has its own story, and so a painting acts as a novel – or at least as a short-story. This is amazing! Many thanks to everyone who created this exhibition!

Really enjoyed this exhibition. Well worth the visit to explore so many of Lowry's paintings in one place. Cannot commend the audio commentary enough it enhanced our visit greatly. Thanks to all who put this together.

The exhibition was brilliant. The visit was a surprise trip for my husbands birthday as Lowry is his one of his favourite artists. The exhibition made his day so thank you.

Overall, I thought that the Lowry exhibition was disappointing. I thought that the link to French impressionism was interesting but apart from that it provided little further insight into either Lowry himself and it missed the opportunity to provide a social history context to some of his work. I also felt that some of his paintings had been given too little space to breathe although this may have been intentional. Conversely, I loved both the Caulfield and Hume exhibitions, artists about whom I knew nothing!

Loved the exhibition. My wife was born in Ashton-under Lyne, so we were disappointed not to be able to buy a print of that particular painting. He also painted a reversed version of he same view, with everything going the other way, like a mirror image. Incidentally Bradford Museum don't do a print either, so I imagine one has never been made.

As someone who doesn't frequent art galleries very often, it's always great to see art "up close and personal". For me, the Lowry exhibition gave his work an extra dimension of reality compared to the one I'm used to of just seeing his work in the media. I could argue the same is true of any artist, however I felt, and was surprised by the fact, that Lowry's work does gain a greater realism (in an impressionistic sense) when viewed in this way. For me, this was not the case when I went into the rooms containing many of Turner's paintings - an artist whose art I have always admired and I really enjoyed looking at these works in the Tate, but seeing them in the gallery did not bring that extra dimension like the Lowry works did. That may be because of the subject matter and the fact that I could see myself being part of the picture in many of Lowry's works - the humanistic side of the content really shines through in his works. I guess this wasn't intentional, but the closeness of the rooms in the gallery with all the people milling about seemed a fitting environment to view these works! It would have been interesting to see a live video feed from a camera placed high in the rooms to see in real-time how people move about and congregate, much like in Lowry's works.

Alanej, who added comment on 12th August and whose wife came from Ashton-under-Lyme, would you be the same Alan Johnson (not the ex postman Labour politician) who came from Skelmersdale and used to play with me,my cousins and brothers in the 50's? If so I still have your name and address in my address book! I'm on Friends Reunited if you are...

Brilliant. Very well organised. We loved the film of him working. I really love the man, he reminds me so much of the life with all the smoke and pollution of all the cities both north and south

The exhibition is very striking. There is a level of bleakness about many of the pictures. However, that seems to be a reflection of the reality that Lowry was seeing - just watch the film footage of the time. A few pictures were stunning - the light effects created amazing glows and hugely attractive visions of the landscapes that the artist clearly loved. I will return!

The exhibition was informative and quite exciting - I find Lowry's urbanist perspective and understanding of crowds truly engaging. But my family who I went with all felt that there he showed little development as an artist over his career, or maybe that is there were only subtle developments; and thus with a significant exhibition at this scale, one reaches the end a bit 'lowry'd out'. None of us warmed to or were convinced by the cripples.


Thank you for an interesting and enjoyable exhibition. The juxtaposition of his work with his contemporaries was fascinating.

I didn't buy the intellectualising of what Lowry was seeking to accomplish. Was it really a social commentary? Seems to me that Lowry was simply painting a version of what he saw. He caught the colour of the area particularly well, as anyone who grew up there will know.

A tiny quibble: could the signs to the exhibition be a little less subtle please?

I was already a fan of Lowry before visiting your exhibition. I understand that many people visit the Tate to broaden their horizons, but I was saddened by comments from visitors around me. I am from Sheffield, the other side of the Pennines to Lancashire, but with a very similar social history. Lowry paints a true picture - "matchstick" people because they probably didn't have enough money to eat each day of the week with a sense of community & grime. When Lowry painted there was a definite North / South divide - maybe he's not appreciated for his true insight into life as it was by those who are privileged enough to visit the Tate. I now live in Northampton.

Excellent exhibition, but covered much of the usual Lowry themes of industrial landscapes. The few sea and agricultural landscapes were interesting, although we had seen many of them in a previous exhibition in Cumbria. The cinematic side was interesting and gave real insight into the period. A pity not to have any of the portraits which show a much wider, and underrated side of Lowry. However, the gallery in Dover Street, London, has a selection of these paintings on show, and for sale!, which is worth going to if over that way. Opposite the Ritz Hotel. The Catalogue was quite good, but for obvious reasons only covered the exhibition, and the book titled "A Life", also on sale in the bookshop, gives a much better insight into Lowry. Overall another very good show following on from an excellent season.


This was my second visit to the Lowry....this time with my granddaughter. She was suitably impressed!

thought you and your staff dealt with the fire alarm on Tuesday highly professionally and calmly organised the return for the viewing. Suggest some Lowry material held in the main shop for those who wish to collect later.

Having never been a big Lowry fan I was fairly ambivalent when I went in but from what I saw I think he probably captured the mood of the times perfectly. I certainly felt a small degree of empathy with the workers he portrayed and it made me stop and think about how we are worlds away now from an environment that is still recent history.

On a slightly negative note there were far too many people in the exhibition when we went and it was difficult to fully appreciate the works in a cramped environment, though on the positive side it is great to see art still so well supported


I have been familiar with Lowry for 50 years now (I even went to Manchester!) and this show was enlightening and fun. His drawings and the few departures from his usual format were welcome, but there is scant difference visually between his early mature works and his last. Pleasingly varied and sincerely felt though the works are they are shallow. There is little attempt to draw the viewer in and the world is seen through a telescope, flat with no foreground.

We recovered in the Caulfield whose works are also flat but more rewarding and intriguing. His wry take on 70's taste will live with me, thank you Tate.

Very good show, with really informative wall panels in each room (most refreshingly, with none of the pretentious language that is often used).

I have known Lowry's work for decades, but had never realised just how political it was. My lasting impression was of post-apocalypse industrial ruin.

I recently went to the current exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery and saw Nevinson's town scenes for the first time. Could one of them have influenced the other?

The members' early morning opening on Sunday was wonderfully quiet. I strongly recommend visiting popular exhibitions at such privileged times.

I had not really thought of myself as a Lowry enthusiast however as I had some spare time I thought I would take a look and I am very glad that I did. The paintings were breathtaking and really a lot more lively than I had expected. I also had a real moment where I was overwhelmed by one in particular (VE day celebrations) and found myself welling up. Definitely worth a visit whether you are familiar or not with Lowry.

Enjoyed exhibition. Excellant grouping by room of the various works on show. Wonderful seeing all 5 large industrial landscapes on same wall in final room. Also seeing the Welsh Valley's paintings.

Had visited the Lowry in Salford in June. Few of the industrial works on display at that visit. the two exhibitions together probably needed to give full understanding and picture of his work.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. It was a taste of home for me although quite a dark one! I am a Northern girl (having grown up close to Wigan in the sixties, seventies and early eighties) before moving 'down t'South' 29 years ago. For me Lowry perfectly captured the back drop images of my youth in that area. At that time there was a certain lack of hope and a complete lack of investment in the once highly industrialised areas. The fair was an annual highlight for us and what we called 'walking days' another. You exhibited paintings depicting both of these lighter subjects to balance the otherwise grimness of the landscape scenes. It was interesting to see Lowry's interpretation of Wigan and to see how dark it was! I have wondered over the years if he had ever ventured to Wigan now I know he did! I took my 15 year old son with me and his review was 'It was OK' in teenage parlance I would say that equates to 'It was quite good'! A couple of very small criticisms - I too would have liked to have seen some of his portrait works which are equally dark and I couldn't buy a copy of the 'Wigan' painting in the shop (I take it it is one of his less well recognised works)? The painting that has most stuck in my memory? The painting depicting the destruction caused by the war.

Absolutely wonderful exhibition, worth several visits. Obviously knew of him and a few of the better known works but didn't know that he was feted in France before the UK. Loved the works in pencil, what a magnificent draughtsman.

Last year I vowed that my days of being pushed around at art exhibitions were over ! However having so enjoyed "The Lowry" at Salford I decided to try one more. I appreciate that space is limited but this was not an easy exhibition to view. The writing on the wall needed to be larger and on both sides of the painting (as folk approached from either side) and there needed to be more space between paintings. At first I was delighted to see seating, especially as the rooms were far too hot, but it was impossible to sit down and see anything but the rear views of a crowd of folk moving along (and most of these certainly were not matchsticks !) Nevertheless I enjoyed seeing paintings I'd not seen before and also the links with French painters so I'm fairly glad I went.

I found Lowry's work initially likeable but room after room they remained boringly similar and formulaic. Based on this exhibit Lowry didn't develop much as an artist over his many years, there is the continuous heavy use of snow as the setting for his scenes,, the same high vantage point, the same use of fencing as a device to fill in the right hand corner of the painting, the same lean of the torso of his characters, the same foreground/background fading to infinity, etc. by the end of the show his work felt clichéd. The paintings by his teacher Valette and those by Utrillo and Van Gogh proved a welcome respite. Lowry was undoubtedly talented, his patience and brush control for his crowd scenes is impressive and his work does have an essential "Englishness" about it but for me that wore thin in painting after painting.

The sign of a good exhibition is how long people stand in front of a painting to really appreciate it. With Lowry every painting has so much detail that you just stand and absorb them. The down size is of course that the rooms were packed, even with timed entry, and very hot. Having said that it was woderful and will definetly go again

I have been following the comments on the Lowry show with great interest as it seemed to attract an interesting cross section of people from art critics and art lovers to people interested in the location or the social aspects of Lowry's work. Seems that there was something there for everyone.

It is a great idea to have this list of comments which provide feedback on who goes to exhibitions and why.

Personally, I visited the exhibition on a members early morning so wasn't subjected to overcrowding and claustrophobia in general so could appreciate the paintings at my own pace - much more enjoyable that way.

Had to agree with someone who commented that they had sworn not to join the hoards at the popular shows. Although it must be good that people are visiting museums and art galleries, if you can't appreciate the works at your leisure, it is hardly worth visiting.

Loved the idea that someone had spotted a contact from their distant past commenting and tried to make contact. Has to be an opportunity for a different sort of social networking!

Went Friday mid day, so it was a bit of a scrum, but probably much better earlier in the morning. Exhibition was made more interesting by the writing at the beginning of each room. You then saw some of the choices he was making in his painting, and got away from the myth that he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs because he couldn't draw people. And although I saw several dogs, I didn't see a single matchstalk cat. Interesting to have the Pisarros in, and some of his landscapes reminded me of Paul Nash and of early C20 Soviet painters. My companion and I reflected that his painting style didn't develop much, but as he had a full time job as a rent collector, and probably not much spare cash for materials, that's not too surprising. Also it reminded me a bit of Bert Hardy photos, and an exhibition I saw (forgotten name of photographer) of people living an the North East Coast around Hartlepool. Fewer people, but same placing in their environment.

Thank you for bringing Lowry to London!

Had expected all paintings to be very similar and bland, yet loved every room. As a northerner, I would have enjoyed learning about the historical movements of Lowry's time in more depth but did come away with a lot - the fever van, the way men walk to football matches like they walk to the mill, children playing football on sites that had possibly not long before held homes. I enjoyed his northern 'directness' through the titles of each piece... 'People Standing About', 'Going To Work', 'Coming Home From Work' and the more intriguing 'An Accident'. He had a great eye for the behaviour and habits of crowds, and the way the combination of people and industry worked. The use of little colour and the simplicity of the pieces was a pleasure, yet revisiting most paintings brought a lot more to the eye - and for me, many more questions.

Highlights for me were 'Coming Out Of School' (seems like it was a similar experience back then than it was in the 80s), ''Blitzed Site' (quite a change to see a solitary figure in the picture), the seaside, 'V.E Day' and 'The Fair At Daisy Nook'. Further reading after the exhibition tells me he produced a few pieces in the north east, even one in my hometown of Hartlepool. Tate, you have created quite a Lowry fan in me!

We found it very busy on a Friday lunchtime despite the exhibition been on for a while. Although it would have been nicer to have more room to roam around, I'm pleased at the event's popularity.

Wonderful exhibition thank you - we always come just to absorb the paintings and don't use the audio guide or read the written guides until we come home. But even with this approach to this exhibition we were amazed to learn so much more about Lowry, to discover a new (to us) artist, Adolphe Valette and to see so much that was new and interesting.

The show could have been stronger: it felt a bit 'samey.' The full range of Lowry's work wasn't displayed, for example bare seascapes and portraits. I saw a particularly striking painting at the Lowry Centre, Salford some years back that portrayed the loneliness and isolation of a dysfunctional family - each person looking in a different direction with no eye contact. Another painting of a Toll House on a bleak moor again conveys the isolation that was part of Lowry as an artist and as a man. None of this came through in this show. The last room was disappointing. Rather than vast canvasses that were no improvement on the smaller ones in previous rooms it would have been interesting to have looked at the influence of Lowry on the Northern artists who followed him: John Thompson, Theodore Major (a master of the bleak, stooped figure), William Turner, Geoffrey Key, Simeon Stafford. The lack of chronology from room to room was somewhat puzzling. I would have preferred to see how his style had developed, for example earlier paintings or sketches showed more rounded, conventional figures that later became the more familiar 'matchstick men.'

Excellent exhibition. Visited it twice. The layout was good and the large numbers of work amazing. I knew little about Lowry before visiting Tate and a lot on leaving. Historically I found it most informative and think that Lowry did us a great service of showing us how dire manufacturing work and life was in the past. The 1966 John Berger quote in Section 6 of the handout and on the wall about the British economy since 1918 still applies today. To think that HS2 is the first new rail line in 100 years!

A prolific painter and a well presented exhibition. I thought the thematic rather than chronological viewing worked well. However, the number of paintings emphasises the sameness of them; and there is a "Where's Wally" element to his work. I hadn't seen his larger work before, and loved the 5 large canvasses brought together for the first time and paintings of The Fair, with the larger figures are exceptional. I have recommended it to people already.


I thoroughly enjoyed this show. I had no idea previously about Lowry though I recognized his matchstick men. I really loved his view on industrialization and view of humanity trying to cope with it. I may well go and see it again and it was so rich and interesting. Thank you.

I am well acquainted with Lowry and his works and have visited the Lowry museum in Salford a number of occasions. However it was fantastic and inspiring to see some of his most famous works brought together for the first time and also some of his lesser known pencil drawings. I was disappointed that many of his individual portraits and small group paintings were not represented and also most of his seascape and landscape studies. However this is a minor point and I am delighted that L.S.Lowry has received the long overdue credit that he deserves. As a bit of fun I would encourage you to view the Oasis "Masterplan" video which is an amusing and clever tribute to the great man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ9cw98wsoY

Normally, I don't like Lowry's painting but seeing a lot of his work together and in context made a lot of sense whilst considering what the paintings were about and the era. I thought most of them were very sweet and refreshingly simple. The lovely thing about having Tate membership is that it enables you to see a lot of exhibitions which you might otherwise not think of seeing. Thanks Tate!

Thank you, Andy Potts, for suggesting the Oasis video. It was great fun, good music, and an enhancement of Lowry's world as shown in his paintings. It was fun to spot all the Lowry details (man lying on wall etc). Highly recommended!

Just viewed Oasis clip - brilliant! Thanks, Andy, for recommending it. Interesting to see how much Lowry influenced the whole Northern scene. Shame the painting of a man lying on a wall wasn't in the exhibition - one of his most iconic. This show has really got people talking.

Yes, Noel Gallagher is a massive Lowry fan. You can read more here: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/film-and-tv/noel-gallagher-pai... Regarding the "Man Lying on a Wall" painting; Lowry said "People.. refuse to believe me when I tell them I saw a man dressed just like that, doing just that, from the top of a bus in Haslingden.. I couldn't resist doing him as a subject" Lowry put his own initials 'LSL' on the briefcase. It is housed in the Lowry Museum, Salford which comprises around 400 Lowry items and is free admission.

This was a welcome discovery of an artist whose works, like those of Toulouse Lautrec, have become somewhat associated with the posters we used to hang on the walls in the seventies. Then there are the clichés about the working class and industrial Britain. Maybe it was the surprising thickness of the paint and brushstroke on board or the unique white/grey of Lowry's palette but I soon found myself drawn into the paintings beyond the flatness of the brick buildings and the little people scurrying around into something more complex. The real jolt came with the "ruined" landscapes. You can't walk into room 4 without gasping at the paintings and their sheer power. Speak of Bruegel like scenes elsewhere in the exhibit but broken down telegraph poles amid a burnt out landscape bring to mind the tilting gallows in Bruegel's Triumph of Death. What emotions possessed this rent collector/artist! The panoramic paintings at the end left me far more impressed with Lowry than I expected. Only regret -- I wish the exhibit had given more of a sense of what was actually real in the industrial landscape at the time as opposed to Lowry's interpretation. But it was all very thoughtfully curated, including the quotations on the wall. A rewarding experience -- thank you, Tate!

I thoroughly enjoyed the Lowry Exhibition, very well presented and showing lots of his work which were relatively unknown to me. Was very impressed by the effort the Tate put into the exhibition making it such a pleasurable experience. Well done, I am sure there will be lots of other famous painters we shall have the pleasure to see in due course. Let's keep on the struggle to succeed. Many thanks.

Loved the Lowry exhibition. Being a Salford lad and having seen many Lowry paintings before in my home town, it was refreshing to see different, new work. I found the exhibition an emotional journey too and was moved by many of the paintings involving children's illnesses and the death of adults. Seeing the blitzed ruins of my home town and the paintings portraying evictions and the hardships of daily life also made their mark. Overwhelming all of this was the hardy, stoicism of us Northerners determined to live and survive despite the hardships and trials of life. I really enjoyed the exhibition. Thank you.


Very interesting to see so many Lowry's together. I did find the later work less interesting compared to his earlier work. I found a lot of his later work too 'light' and the little stick people did not feel real ... Whereas in his earlier work there seemed to be a darker mood and that gave the whole scene more meaning for me.

There was one sketch in pencil where he had written what he was going to paint and what colour to use ... I would have loved to have seen more more 'work in progress'.

A very well organised show. I welcomed the chance to view a lot more of Lowry's work than I have previously seen. I am old enough to remember living in a street full of terraced houses, seeing factories out of the window, and the rent collector coming once a week to collect his money, so it brings back memories. It is interesting now to visit the industrial heartland of the northwest and see how it has changed. My children aged 8 and 13 also enjoyed the show very much and found it a great eye-opener on how people lived not so long ago. Well done Tate.

This was my second visit and it was good to re-visit. One of the most interesting aspects was to overhear the ambient conversations of people who had lived through similar experiences to that which Lowry depicts. My favourite room on both occasions was room 4 Ruined Landscapes, the paintings here seemed to be very dark and gave a stark reality to their subject. I am visiting again in September with a friend who has not seen the exhibition yet - so i am looking forward to her thoughts.


As ever why are the picture labels such small font! There is loads of space for a font readable from 2 m.

Not the best showing of his work.

It was a shame the two similar fair pictures of a few years apart were not shown together.

The handling of his contemporaries' works was good.

It would have been good if more of his Berwick on Tweed paintings had been shown, and a note to indicate his holiday/ potential desire to move there.

The video loop was very informative but I would have preferred the credits to introduce the clips.


Very good exhibition. Glad that at last Lowry was given wall space. However way too busy and crowded.

Disappointed that there were no portraits as these are may favourite of Lowry's paintings. Especially the portrait he did of himself when his Mother died, it shows such emotion.

Preferred the exhibitions I have seen in Manchester and Salford. But maybe he is better understood up north.

Really enjoyed this exhibition. No one recorded the life and environment of the working classes quite like Lowry. Showing the work of his mentors and influences was I thought useful to understand his work,as was showing contemporary film of the time.His larger pieces of work at the end if the exhibition were a revelation and coming from Wales I found his welsh landscapes wonderful and I had no idea they existed. If only he had done more.


Really enjoyed this exhibition. Well worth making the most of the members' early morning access at weekends.

Visited the Lowry for the second time yesterday, and having enjoyed the earlier rooms previously, headed for the industrial landscapes.

Whilst the earlier rooms are wry and compassionate views of urban life, I found the later landscapes very moving. The John Berger quotation on the wall in the final room - about the demise of industrial UK - is depressingly relevant today, although it was written almost 50 years ago. Lowry's ghostly wasteland landscapes are eerily prescient.

A really worthwhile visit, which I rounded off with another look at wonderful Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume.