Olwyn Bowey

Portrait Sketch of L.S. Lowry


Not on display

Olwyn Bowey born 1936
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 914 × 711 mm
frame: 1118 × 915 × 95 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1964

Catalogue entry

Olwyn Bowey b. 1936

T00662 Portrait Sketch of L. S. Lowry, 1963–64

Inscr. ‘Olwyn Bowey’ b.l.
Canvas, 36 x 28 (91.5 x 71).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1964.
Exh: R.A., 1964(237).

The artist wrote (30 August 1964) that she first met Lowry while she was painting Mervyn Levy in November 1963 (also exhibited at the R.A., 1964, No. 200); he was producing his book on the drawings of L. S. Lowry at that time: ‘He was such an endearing character with such a humorous face that I couldn’t resist asking him if he’d sit for a portrait. He really was most kind about this, because his visits to London are somewhat few and far between, and he sat for one Sunday afternoon at Mervyn Levy’s house in Sheen—when I painted as rapidly as I could and took the picture nearly to a conclusion. He was very patient, and mostly talked about our common background of the North of England. I don’t think he could see why I had left such a marvellous place to come and live in London. His sense of humour is great, and somehow or other he kept me entertained all the time I painted.

‘The picture is only two sittings and it wasn’t until late February this year that I saw him again, and finished the picture, but I thought it couldn’t be anything but a sketch, even though I wouldn’t want now to take it any further—as I feel it is the result of two inspired visits. Mr. Lowry himself teased me into putting in the red background—he dared me to brighten it up.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1964–1965, London 1966.

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