I guess we always, no matter how long we have lived away from our place of birth feel that Home is Home!…
I have lived here in Ireland for almost two decades now but when it come to artists I still have two at the top of my list who lived and worked as artists in or around the greater Manchester area in the UK.
At the top of my list will always be Ls Lowry 🙂 I have a post on his work here Ls Lowry and here, If you want to know more about his life and work, Manchester has a great gallery (The lowry Gallery) dedicated to his life and his art work, its a fantastic Gallery and a great source for his history.
While I love the art work of LS Lowry the art work by my other favourite Manchester artist Travor Grimshaw has always been very much in my mind when I think of amazing drawings from the industrial past of the city Manchester, along with many other surrounding towns which at the time contained industrial landscapes such as Bolton.
What I like most about Grimshaw’s work is his ability to limit this images down to a single style and his limited use of materials – along with his his use of moody monochromes. I work a increasingly with drawings these days and love the feeling produced when just using medium’s such as charcoal or pastels along with graphite.
Here its like he knew perfectly well that these limited materials were perfect for representing the smoke and coal dust filled factory landscapes of the English north west and he stayed with these materials for the vast majority of this well know works.
Take this image (Two Telegraph Poles) for example, like a lot of his drawings and painting there is little subject matter in them, if you compare these images to the paintings of LS. lowry, these landscape are empty. There are none of the hundreds of people all going about their activities.
All the art work is done here by empty views that contain some of the most moody drawings I think I have ever seen ….
Here is a full description of Trevor’s life and his working career ….
Life and work
Grimshaw was born in Hyde, Cheshire in 1947 and studied at the Stockport College of Art from 1963 to 1968. He developed a unique style working in oils, charcoal and graphite to produce atmospheric, stylised images of the Northern industrial landscape, mainly in monochrome.
As a child he had a passion for steam engines and trainspotting, which continued into adulthood; for example he made the journey to the scrapyard at Barry in South Wales which held hundreds of steam locomotives awaiting scrapping, and made a personal photographic record of the occasion, 34 photo images being used in his publication “Stilled Life”. Much of his work overall features steam engines.
He spent much of his working career at Manchester advertising agency Stowe Bowden Ltd.
Grimshaw exhibited widely in the UK (including at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy in the 1970s) and in the US and Germany. His work was included in the private collections of L.S. Lowry, Edward Heath (two drawings purchased in 1973), the Warburton (Bread) Family and Gerald Kaufman MP., and he is represented in a number of public collections, including The Tate Gallery, Salford Art Gallery, Stockport Art Gallery and Bury Art Gallery.
He illustrated The Singing Street, a book of poems by Mike Harding, and executed limited edition lithographs for Christie’s Contemporary Art. He also did the title slide images for the early BBC Great Railway Journeys of the World series. Artist Geoffrey Key described Grimshaw, a long time friend, as “one of the most important graphic artists working in the north during the last half of the 20th century”.[This quote needs a citation]
While Grimshaw is most celebrated for his black and grey graphite portrayal of post-industrial Britain (e.g. canals, cityscapes, viaducts, steam trains) his portfolio included diverse other subjects such as megaliths, Stonehenge, quarries in North Wales, motorway construction and the solstices (often in combination). Colour treatment was largely reserved for Cheshire landscapes, and pictures of Clarice Cliff ceramics.
L.S.Lowry attended one of his earliest exhibitions, buying three of his major early works to hang alongside his small collection of Pre-Raphaelites. Grimshaw became a regular visitor to Lowry’s home in Mottram.
In 1973 the North West Arts Association published Townscape: Trevor Grimshaw, a book reproducing 30 drawings. In 2004 a major retrospective exhibition was held at Stockport Art Gallery.
By the time of his death, in a house fire in November 2001, Grimshaw had become an alcoholic and a reclusive figure. He held his last show in 1997 in the County Museum and Art Gallery at Prostejov, Moravia, Czech Republic, his 50th show in his 50th year.
Grimshaw’s daughter organised a retrospective exhibition of her father’s work, which took place from February to May 2004 at Stockport Art Gallery.
In June 2014 an exhibition of his paintings, organised by family friend (and owner of the collection).
Ceridwen Grimshaw (Trevor’s youngest daughter) recently discovered negatives taken from Grimshaw’s 1970’s 3 trips to Barry Scrapyard (see above). Almost 100 of these images were unused and 90 will be exhibited at Stockport War Museum and Art Gallery from 11 May 2019 to June 15, titled “Trevor Grimshaw – Unseen Barry Photographs”. Grimshaw’s intention was to show the effects of Barry’s salt air on over 100 steam locomotives awaiting scrapping (although most were eventually saved).
I have posted a couple of times since the new year, relating to the Manchester Born artists Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976) he was born in Old Trafford, Salford and studied in the evening at Manchester Municipal College of Art. He was a man who rarely left the North West, finding his inspiration in the landscape of North Wales and Lancashire, and in the streets of Manchester and around Salford.
Possible this painting “Industrial City” is one of my favorite cityscapes that Lowry produced, I say possibly because he was prolific in this area of his portfolio and I love so much of his inner city works.
I grow up in Altrincham, a town only a few miles away from city center Manchester and while I missed this core era that Lowry was working in, I have lots of memories of the city looking like it does in these paintings.
During my early years I can remember these streets and factories being slowly torn down and replaced with office blocks along with new more modern houses. Its hard to imagine these days what life was like for a lot of the people captures in Lowry’s drawings and painting, living and working within the same mile, most people hardly traveling very far outside their surroundings.
Lowry restricted his palette to black, vermillion, Prussian blue, yellow ochre and flake white. Whilst there is a naivety in his rendition, he deftly caught the hustle and bustle of men, women and dogs on the move against a background of terraced houses, mills and factories.
The things I love most about this painting , well firstly its angle of view, Lowry paints as if he was standing on top a hill overlooking the homes and industry below. I also like very much the distance in this painting, a distance that few of the people captured in it could experience themselves at street level. To me this distance captures the expanse of the city, each small area making up the whole, yet enclosing people within their own spaces of home and work and life.
City life itself is captured here, every element of the community (Home, work, shops, play, chat, church and industrial dirt – so much of it!).
In the distance through the city smog you can just make out the hills and moors, fresh air and spaces that so clearly is just out of reach.
I feel this painting is LS Lowry at his very best, some artists go in very close with life in order to capture and reflect on it , Lowry pulls back in his view and adds in so many elements that you have to spend time exploring his work, in order for you to see the full message and story he want you to see.
This was life in a Northern English town, lowry painted it and also lived it with the people he captured!!!!
At the start of January while I was back in my home town of Manchester in The UK, I spent sometime with family members in visiting the Lowry Gallery in Salford, Manchester, UK.
Lowry is a much loved English artist, particularly in the North west of the UK, being born in Stretford, Manchester.
Here are some basic details about him,
Laurence Stephen Lowry was born 1 November 1887 in Barrett Street, Stretford. His father, Robert, worked as a clerk in an estate agent’s office. His mother, Elizabeth, was a talented pianist. By 1898 the family were living in Victoria Park, a leafy suburb in south Manchester, but in 1909 financial difficulties necessitated a move to Pendlebury, an industrial area between Manchester and Bolton. Lowry’s mother hated it, and so did Lowry, but, ‘After a year I got used to it. Within a few years I began to be interested and at length I became obsessed by it.’
After leaving school Lowry took a job as a clerk with a Manchester firm of chartered accountants, Thomas Aldred and Son. In 1910, after being made redundant from a second job, he became rent collector and clerk for the Pall Mall Property Company and stayed there until his retirement in 1952.
As a child he had enjoyed drawing, and he used part of his income to pay for private painting lessons with the artists William Fitz and Reginald Barber. In 1905 he began attending evening classes at Manchester Municipal College of Art. His tutor in the life drawing class there was the Frenchman Adolphe Valette, who brought first-hand knowledge of the Impressionists, such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro to his classes. ‘I cannot over-estimate the effect on me at that time of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette… He had a freshness and a breadth of experience that exhilarated his students.’
By 1915 Lowry had begun attending evening classes at Salford School of Art, based in the Royal Technical College on the edges of Peel Park. One of his tutors there, Bernard Taylor (art critic for the Manchester Guardian) advised Lowry that his paintings were too dark. In response, Lowry tried painting on a pure white background, a technique he was to retain for the rest of his career.
Peel Park, and the views across it from the Technical College windows, appear regularly in Lowry’s work. He had begun to see the possibilities of painting what he saw on his doorstep, rather than more conventional landscapes based on the countryside nearby. The best known story Lowry told of how he became interested in the industrial scene described how, after missing a train at Pendlebury station, he saw the Acme Spinning Company’s mill turning out, ‘I watched this scene – which I’d looked at many times without seeing – with rapture.’
A closer study of Lowry
Over the next few days and weeks I want to take a much closer look at the paintings and drawings that Laurence produced, looking at the subjects that he worked with and the technique’s he used to record his world.
As an artist he has been labeled and stereotyped as a naïve “Sunday painter”, based on the way he painted his landscapes and drew people along with animals.
During this visit to the Lowry Gallery however and with the help of the guided tour, it became very clear just what a complete artist Lowry was. Having a chance to see a collection of his work from his very early days at night school, until the final works of art he produce has helped to show me just how diverse and skilled an artist he was.
The areas of his work I want to study can be seen in his work I have selected below, including (Life drawing, pencil sketches, oil paints, landscape and city scape work), I will enjoy very much looking at his art work and I hope to learn a great deal from him, for my own efforts at drawing and painting.
Art works by LS Lowry
Samuel Coulthurst: Victorian Salford, Manchester(UK) – (1889 – 1890)
19th Century street photography
Back in 2002 I was back home in Manchester and visited the Lowry art museum and gallery at the Salford Quays, Manchester. This exhibition has stayed in my memory ever since so I thought I would share a post about the display of work I attended that day.
During a two year period (1889 and 1990), Samuel Coulthurst and his brother-in-law James Higson both members of the Lancashire and Cheshire photography union, dressed as what was known then as rag and bone men.
They carried their camera on the back of a cart they used and took many photographs of the people they met and got to know. Many of these photographs have been archived along with details of who these people were and what they did.
They were not simply doing a street walk about with a camera but spent time both living the lives and getting to know the people of Salford.
Many for the street children that the two photographed would have attended the Charter Street Ragged School, they had either lost parents to industrial accidents or to famine or disease. In the grounds of this church owned school is a grave yard that contains 6000 such parents. The city of Manchester has many such locations from this period.
It was in such conditions that these two photographers lived and worked taking pictures that made history. Without them most people would have forgotten in part at least, the kind of live’s that the 19th century people of Manchester lived including my Own Ancestors.
The exhibition is repeated by the Lowry Gallery so if you are in Manchester and into history/photography then maybe you could call in.
Flat Iron Market Salford. Manchester 1890.
Swan Street, Salford Manchester 1890.
Organ Grinder – Swan Street Salford, Manchester 1890.
Tom Shudehill, Poultry Market. Manchester 1890.
As its a wet and slow afternoon I thought I would just do a quick post to pass on some study links for Dorothea Lange:
Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.
A biography worthy of its subject (Linda Gordon’s DOROTHEA LANGE)
@ The historian’s lens
One of the best people and documentary photographers of all time
No she didn’t go digital!
A great book on her work was published by Phaidon and written by Mark Durden (ISBN 0-7148-4619-8)