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!


Fascinating to see the links with French impressionists. I thought that Lowry had only ever done one picture of a cricket match (which he didn't like and cut down) so I was very interested to see his 1952 painting of children playing in the street. All this while it was pouring with rain across the river at the Oval!

Like most people I was aware of his work, but was never a fan. Being a member I now go and see exhibitions of artists I wouldnt ordinarily see. Im so glad I went to see Lowry, I was blown away. So much detail which isnt obvious at first glance. I went again yesturday with a friend from the US. She also loved it, but she was surprised at how dark it was up north back then, with his river scenes looking more like cemeterys than your usual green landscapes. So of the time. I could sit in the final room for hours. Brilliant.

I am too not a fan of Lowry so went to change my mind. Not a success. Very repetitive themes and perspectives, giving the feeling of obsessive expression. A few emotions in the fever wagon, or the 'accident' but not enough in most. And I share the comment about crowded rooms whereas the Caulfield exhibition was cool and near empty.

Can this (http://wp.me/p2SuQi-rJ) change your view on Lowry? ) He is the Dostoyevsky of painting, not easy to read, but definitely staying with you once you get to the core of his idea.

It is perhaps a pity that it was not a full retrospective, given that the last in London, at the RA, was long ago. This would have shown the portraits, lonely non-urban landscapes and seascapes which several commentators would have liked to have seen. An excellent small exhibition of the latter two categories was shown in Kendal a year or two back which was very popular. What was slightly more puzzling to me was the choice of a Valette painting from Manchester City Art Gallery. The small painting entitled 'Under Windsor Bridge' containing a lonely figure overlooking the Irwell is often seen as potentially the most influential on Lowry, but it was not on view at the Tate. Manchester also has several very small Valette studies superior to those belonging to the Tate. It was an impressive show however, and good to see so many Lowry paintings from private collections

Francis Glibbery's picture

I saw the Lowry show last Saturday, when it was pouring with rain outside. I didn't think the figures looked world-weary. Accepting, maybe. But world-weary, no. I loved the splashes of red in almost every image; on clothes, pillar-boxes and lamp-posts. I thought they looked like Lowry's constant messages of hope! The whole show surprised me in this way. I'm very glad I went.

Well worth a visit - each time I've noticed something I hadn't taken in before. Great to see how his style has progressed over time. Really enjoyed it each time I visited.

Really enjoyed the exhibition found it educating and got me to have a fresh look at Lowry and study his paintings. Feel I learnt a lot especially with the headset found it most informative

A great exhibition. I particularly appreciated the discussion of Lowry's motivation for painting the industrial scene in the north of England, and the various related political and social comments included in the exhibition. John Berger's highlight of the potential problems of the shift from industrial production to financial services showed remarkable foresight!

I was also impressed by Lowry's paintings of buildings, and I thought that his paintings of individual buildings expressed much of the menace characteristic of Edward Hopper, although I rather doubt whether Lowry ever saw any Hopper paintings.-

Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition which was much more comprehensive than I expected despite the advance publicity, The Time Line of Lowry's life and times outside the gallery put everything into perspective.

I am new to Lowry. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition on a few levels; social history, being set in context to the time and Lowry's comtempories, and seeing his development as an artist. I had not realised that he was well thought of in Paris or that he had been to art school and had been taught by a french painter.

Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. Fascinating to feel the coldness and starkness of that era in the industrial north through Lowry's paintings. Liked the way other artists were incorporated. Printed information next to pictures - font size too small.

On the corridor wall in my infant school was a L.S.Lowry print. Lowry was the first artist I knew and recognised. I was really looking forward to going to this exhibition, it had a lot to live up to! Was I disapointed? No, not one little bit. I loved it. In one corner were several sketches. What an eye opener! All the faces seen previously were without expression but the sketches were so precise, no detail spared. I have no eduacation in art but I know what I like, we saw 4 exhibitions on our day out and we certainly saved the best until last. Appologies to the staff, I know it was 5 minutes until closing but I could not miss the last few paintings. OK so we took the hint when the lady came round with her broom! We will be back before this exhibition ends for a longer look. Would certainly reccomend this exhibition to anyone.

I thought the exhibition was excellent. I was surprised at the physical size of some of the Urban Landscapes. I also thought the theme around each room was well thought out and the addition of comments from other artists/authors etc. around the room were wonderfully appropriate to his work. The large print books in each room were extremely helpful as you moved round. I would recommend the exhibition to friends and family.

I was impressed by the wealth of background information about Lowry, and the clear influence on his work from some of the Impressionists and Post-impressionists , particularly Pissarro, Seurat and Utrillo. His changes in mood and style between the 1930s and 1950s were revealing, but most startling and awe-inspiring was the final painting in the Exhibition, Bargoed, an almost apocalyptic John Martin-style landscape. Above all I will remember his subtle flashes of red paint bringing life to otherwise predominantly grey and (impressively) dirty white views. My one criticism of the Exhibition was the very small descriptive titling and notes to some of the paintings, particularly in Room 3.

The only chronicle of working class life by an artist. I think to appreciate this fully you had to experience that time. You knew what he painted, you were there walking those damp dirty streets past slums and the pollution of industrialisation. You can see why the sixties exploded - shedding the skin of this past world and seeing the bright new world ahead. I remember the small bits of black smut drifting down through the smog, watching them with fascination and mother rushing out to bring in washing from the black smut. There was dirt everywhere. I would lie in bed with my face next to the window smelling the smokey air through the drafty window.

I enjoyed the exhibition but was sorry that so many of the pictures had no notes, either on the wall or in the large print booklets beyond the name and materials. If you don't use the audio description (which I find deeply antisocial when you are at a gallery with friends) it was hard to find more information about some interesting works.

I loved the seascapes and would very much have liked to be able to buy postcards of one in particular. I would be interested to know how the pictures for the cards get chosen as my favourites never seem to be there!


I’ve made several visits to the Lowry exhibition and it just gets better each time! Compared with some contemporary artists who can sometimes appear to be self-indulgent, pretentious, or even cynical, I find his works a hugely uplifting change. Lowry was an artist with integrity, who appeared to be genuinely fascinated with and sympathetic towards his subjects’ plight. Early 20th century Greater Manchester may not have the immediate eye appeal of, say, a languid Provençal setting but his grimy representations of the hardships endured by ordinary working people say so much more to me.

I enjoyed the Lowry show immensely, despite dragging my 3 year old along. She refused to engage with the work, beyond counting how many dogs were in each image (quite a few). I was particularly interested in Lowry's limited palette and his use of red, that he used to highlight certain areas of the image. I preferred the more intimate images than the large paintings in the last room. The Patrick Caulfield was amazing too and seemed even brighter, after seeing the Lowry. The Gary Hume work left me cold and I felt the tern 'Emperor's new clothes' fitted well.

I thought this was thre best exhinbition of the year. A fantastic insight into his observations of a society in mass transition. Very clear evocation of the "dark satanic mills" and their impact on the society they came to dominate. Showed many different sides to Lowry that I had not previously appreciated. It was very well presented and the commentary was engaging.Well done Tate!

I really enjoyed the exhibition, but felt it was incomplete. Like many earlier comments, I would have liked to see more of his seascapes and great portraits, which give his work so much more breadth. I hope these will be available at the Tate another time soon.

I very much enjoyed the exhibition - I was especially struck by the landscapes.

I also really enjoyed the use of colour white; something I hadn't previously appreciated about Lowry's work. Whilst the work was often meant to be bleak, there were some paintings that caught me off guard with business and energy (Fever Van, Hawker's Cart).

I will certainly be heading back to see the exhibition again - there is just so much to appreciated that one visit doesn't do it justice.

The most attractive part of the exhibit was the sight of Lowry in his context and his debt to his contemporaries - and I hope they appreciated him reciprocally . The closeness to Utrillo was remarkable. Utrillo was the finer, but somehow Lowry is the more authentic. It was exciting to see, too, how much Alfred Wallis there was in him. But he's not a landscape painter; his vision is too dark. The bombed mill threw me to Sutherland's Blitz paintings - more shock there, less gloom. And the blockiness of his buildings, softened by the teeming workers usually, is uninvitingly stark when they are absent.

I have always considered Lowry as a 'naive' artist, a belief probably instilled in me by my art school tutor back in the 60's. Your exhibition demonstrated at least to me, that there was more to him than stick men. However, much as I admired the familiar paintings shown in the first room (unsurprisingly, much better here than in print form) that image began to pall as the theme was repeated ad infinitum. For me, the revelation was in the landscapes of war-torn Britain, some having an almost surreal quality. These, together with his pencil drawings showed that Lowry was far from the naive painter that many critics labeled him. The comparison with a few minor works of greater artists such as Van Gogh, Utrillo and Pissarro added little to my understanding or appreciation of the work. I remember an interview Lowry gave to Kenneth Clark in the 60's -possibly Monitor- when asked by Lord Clark "... do you paint the harsh white background to better express the hardship and daily grind of the factory workers..?" Lowry replied ...E! No, I use the white to make t' figures stand out".

All I can say is that the beauty of Tate membership is that it allows you to see exhibitions you wouldn't normally bother with.

The Lowry exhibition is a fine example of this for me. It's not my cup of tea and found it monotonous. I'm all for an artist fully examining a theme but this, for me just went on and on. Funnily the same point could be levelled at Lichtenstein and the recent exhibition, but I found that intriguing, even though I knew most of the works. I thought the Lowry drawings and preparatory work were of most interest.

One man's meat is another man's poison..... onto the next one!

Going to see a Lowry exhibition was not a priority. I write a blog on work by living artists which you do not have to pay to see. But as I crossed the road from the Chelsea School of Art and found myself facing Tate Britain with my Membership card in my pocket, I thought I’d take a peek. I’d never rated Lowry, with his comic figures and endless chimneys. But the first thing I saw was Flowers in a Window, stripped bare, making the mundane, the quotidian mysterious in ‘the empty packed spaces of the street’. It reminded me of George Shaw’s work, paintings like The Passion No 57 which tell us so much more than the eye can see. Then to discover Lowry’s work alongside that of Utrillo and Pissaro was a revelation: and to learn that he showed earlier and more often in Paris than London in the late 20s and early 30s. The rooms showing the later works were more familiar but were studded with sparkling comments large enough and long enough to read while enjoying the paintings. I particularly liked John Berger’s comment – and that of Jessica Stephens who in 1928 wrote ‘The work of Mr M. S. Lowry has qualities which make it difficult to forget. It is penetrative, incisive, stinging and maybe even sarcastic’.

Really enjoyed the exhibition. Disappointed that the picture of Burton was not included, but that it no reflection of those shown, just my interest in seeing it. I was struck by the lack the lack of 'green' used and the whiteness of the backgrounds - brilliantly reflecting the drabness and smokiness of the landscape. very thought provoking and changed my view of Lowry from interesting to genius.

Really enjoyed the exhibition. Disappointed that the picture of Burton was not included, but that it no reflection of those shown, just my interest in seeing it. I was struck by the lack the lack of 'green' used and the whiteness of the backgrounds - brilliantly reflecting the drabness and smokiness of the landscape. very thought provoking and changed my view of Lowry from interesting to genius.

Really enjoyed the exhibition. Disappointed that the picture of Burton was not included, but that it no reflection of those shown, just my interest in seeing it. I was struck by the lack the lack of 'green' used and the whiteness of the backgrounds - brilliantly reflecting the drabness and smokiness of the landscape. very thought provoking and changed my view of Lowry from interesting to genius.

Really enjoyed the exhibition. Disappointed that the picture of Burton was not included, but that it no reflection of those shown, just my interest in seeing it. I was struck by the lack the lack of 'green' used and the whiteness of the backgrounds - brilliantly reflecting the drabness and smokiness of the landscape. very thought provoking and changed my view of Lowry from interesting to genius.

Fantastic exhibition with a wide range and large number of paintings well presented and explained. A credit to the Tate.

The commentary and explanations enabled a better understanding of Lowry's work, and its social and economic context.

Only two minor negatives - the number of people in the exhibtion hall, whilst an indication of the popularity of the exhibition, sadly restricted comfortable viewing; and the halls were very warm. The positives far outweighed the negatives.

Thank you.

Hi John and thanks for your comments. I will make sure they are passed on to the relevant teams. Whilst we do have some quieter times, the popularity of the exhibition meant that we were often busy and I am sorry if this impacted your viewing. This may have also contributed to the temperature, although, due to the nature of some of the works, we do have to maintain some environmental controls. Overall, I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed the exhibition and we look forward to you visiting again soon. Justine, Information team

I enjoyed the show - especially the earlier work with richer texture and colour I know there was a specific them being laid out but it would have been stronger with more of the "empty" landscapes and seascapes Also his drawings and paintings of female models It would have given a fuller picture of his work and contradictions as it is all so subject driven - maybe helped to resolve some of them?

We enjoyed and appreciated the exhibition tremendously, particularly the juxtaposition with paintings by Van Gogh and others. Only criticism - Although I appreciate the theme was his painting of modern life, surely at least one seascape could have been included? Lowrey was "the greatest seascape painter of the 20th century" (Robert Clarke, Guardian Newspaper), yet not even a mention (that I noticed) was made of this fairly prolific element of his work. This allowed a rather one dimensional and repetitive impression of his capabilities, when your declared ambition was to foster a wider acceptance of Lowrey's rightful place in the established art world.

Being Manchester born and bred, I have been familiar with some of Lowry's work since my student days, and approached this exhibition with preconceptions. But I was amazed and entranced by the sheer scale of the show - comprehensive even without the portraits, its breadth in both time and subject, and the excellent commentary. The Welsh landscapes were entirely new to me, and although I was aware of Adolph Valette, I was fascinated by the linking of Lowry to Valette and to Pisarro and Utrillo. A splendid exhibition. Pity about the labelling though - too small, too low, too dark.

I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition and it broadened my view imof his wonderful works. It was great having a friend with me to discuss aspects of some if his pictures. Overall a most pleasant and informative experience.

I was introduced to Lowry at school many years ago - we had a poster or two up on the walls. I was not a massive fan then and never really explored his work as I have got older. I went to the exhibition expecting to be underwhelmed in line with my expectations driven by my early experience. What a revelation!! While still not a fan of his work post 1945, especially the big 'colourful' work he did for the Festival of Britain I have fallen in love with his early paintings. He has absolutely caught the bleakness of pre-WW2 northern life as described by Orwell and done it in a way that has beauty in the depiction of bleakness.

I am very pleased I went. Thank you.

Great exhibition. what a wonderful artist and draughtsperson. Also enjoyed Turner, Constable, Blake and the David Hockney painting.

When I walked into the first room in the Lowry exhibition I saw the painting 'Good Friday Daisy Nook'. This brought back powerful and nostalgic memories for me. It was the first painting I ever saw. I was born in Audenshaw and our family GP, Dr Gordon Laing, who lived in nearby Droylsden, was one of Lowry's early patrons. I can recall seeing the painting on several occasions. When my mother went to the surgery I often accompanied her and when she went in to see the doctor I was put in what I think was the dining room. There were several paintings on the walls, one of which was 'Good Friday Daisy Nook'. I was fascinated by it. Even then, as a small child, I thought the elongated figures in the foreground were odd, unlike how I saw people. I was also taken with the overall orange and red warmth of the painting. It took me aback when I saw it in the Tate show. It also prompted a further memory. In 1967, when I was 17 years old, I was in the sixth form at Glossop Grammar School. One day L.S Lowry visited the school to select the art prizes that year. I did not win a prize, but a friend and fellow pupil, Pamela Middleton, did. Lowry admired a ceramic pot she had made and awarded Pamela a prize. Pamela told me that Lowry asked her what the pot was for and before she could answer he jokingly said that the little hole in the top meant that it could perhaps be used as a 'piss pot'! He then asked Pamela if he could buy it - of course she said yes, she was 'over the moon'. He offered her 'ten bob' - the equivalent of fifty pence today. Apparently when Lowry put his hand in his pocket he found he had not brought any money with him but he promised Pamela that if she would let him take the pot home to Mottram, she could visit him some time and he would give her a small art work of his in exchange! Tragically Pamela never did get to visit Lowry in his house in Mottram - she died in a car accident a week or two after his visit to the school.

Later, I went on to study Fine Art at Camberwell and the RCA. At Camberwell I had the pleasure and reward of being taught Art History by T.J. Clark. In my role as a Fine Art and Art History tutor I regularly refer to his remarkable book, 'The Painting of Modern Life'. And yes, I very much agree that L. S. Lowry is also a true painter of modern life. For me this is a remarkable, beautiful and deeply moving exhibition. Thankyou.


I enjoyed the exhibition of L S Lowry’s art, he who created distinctive artistic paintings from the distinctly unromantic subject matter of industrial towns. His style is unique and instantly recognisable. Lowry was a good painter using composition, colour and perspective all to good effect. His childlike representation of buildings and almost cartoonish people lends to his work a sort of folk art quality. The effective impression of depth in his paintings is achieved through the very light representation of the background, a visual effect caused by the smog from the smoking chimneys which are everywhere. His artworks are a social commentary and historical record of his homeland of rather grim, grimy, industrial northern towns and the people within going about their lives. The large panoramic industrial landscape canvasses in the final room are impressive not just for their size. The painting ‘Industrial landscape, Wigan’ 1925, is Impressionistic in style and impressive to look at. A test of whether you really like a particular painting/artist is if you would be prepared to have it hanging on a wall in your house and I would a Lowry. I recommend the exhibition but apart from some of the caricatures it is not a barrel of laughs but more a sobering, thought provoking image of living amongst heavy industry.

I greatly enjoyed the exhibition but could you please take more care in making Tate exhibitions user friendly? Firstly, the captions are too low and need to be in a larger font so they are easy to read from a distance. Secondly, please indicate which way one is supposed to go round Tate exhibitions? With captions at the left of the pictures, one may assume that clockwise is the preferred direction but people go round in both directions and cause a traffic jam.

I liked the small illustrated booklet supplied. It is a useful souvenir of the exhibition.

Overall, I thought it was an excellent collection of Lowry works! I will visit again before it closes

Enjoyed it, of course - very worthy and all that - but I'm not entirely convinced. Some of the technical side was interesting - the use of so much white in picutres that were so much about 'grime', and the light - but he really didn't do composition, did he?

I was curious that for a painter obsessed with industrialisation, mechanised transport was almost entirely absent from the paintings. There was the one painting of Piccadilly Circus, and a few trains in the distance in some paintings, a reasonable number of horse-drawn carts (although not all that many even of them) but virtually no cars. Not even very many bikes (which I admit would have been more frequently within the purchasing power of the people he was painting). That seems to me odd. Anyone know why?

As I have never seen anyone from Tate actually replying (that's something to talk about at the annual meeting), I'll take the liberty to offer a suggestion.

Lowry was studying the CROWD (just like in the psychology of crowds, but in paintings) and its behaviour in the environment it built for itself. The crowd was alive and kicking, the environment a ruin of nature, beautiful in its own way. Cars, lorries, trucks, etc. become irrelevant in this context (unless they have a part in the conflict shown in the painting). If you study fish, you tend to consider birds as something irrelevant until one of them birds picks up the fish you're studying and carries it away ))

Thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition. Such a rich display of Lowry's work interspersed with impressionists such as Van Gogh - a great surprise!

This was a wonderful exhibition. I had never seen any of Lowry's paintings "in the flesh" before and was amazed to see how bright and vibrant some of them were.

Absolutely love Lowry and all his work - particularly the two Daisy Nooks you had on display, as I used to play there as a child (granted in the 80s!). Was also inspired by his panoramas of landscapes and disturbed by 'the Cripples'. One criticism that I must raise, that did spoil the experience, was the sheer volume of patrons viewing he exhibition at the same time. I had to buy tickets for a specific time yet the rooms were crammed and it was very difficult to see most of the paintings. Surely the point of timed viewings is to avoid this?

Hi Katherine and thanks for your comments. I am sorry to hear that the exhibition felt crowded during your visit. We do have timed entry and limitations on numbers to try and prevent this but occasionally it is unavoidable due to the popularity of the show. For future exhibitions please don't hesitate to contact us in advance either by email/phone where we will be happy to advise on any quieter entry times. However, I will pass you comments on to the Visitor Experience team who are always looking for ways to improve your visit. Thanks again for taking time to contact us, Justine. Information team.

We spent two hours with Lowry and for his work it was worth every minute of concentration on the notes as well as the works. Well crafted exhibition which we both enjoyed: the link to French painters was welcomed though the 1930s American 'industrial' paintings could have enhanced this even more.The inclusion of a little known Van Gogh caused a gasp of delight. As a concesssionary the £13.50 ticket was just about value but my companion at the higher price, was not so impressed what with travel costs and restricted time entry, it bordered on the excessive. The price of books and prints too was a bit beyond the pale. Careful Tate do not price yourself out of a willing market.

This is one thing I have noticed lately. The cost of the exhibition catalogues do seem to be a bit steep.