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Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Bower Meadow 1872

Sat 10 November - Sun 24 February

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites

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An exhibition exploring LS Lowry’s passion for the Pre-Raphaelites, bringing together works by his two favourite artists, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown, alongside Edward Burne-Jones and others.

As a young man Lowry admired the pictures produced by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, even when they fell out of fashion, and once he became successful he began to buy their work.

From well-known classics to pictures rarely displayed in public, this exhibition includes works formerly owned by LS Lowry alongside some of his favourite pictures in public and private collections.

Venue: The Lowry Galleries

Additional information

Free, donations welcome.

Exhibition Supported by:

Picture of Sothebys Logo

A word from the curator

Curator's Top 5 'Must See'

Picture of Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Bower Meadow 1872

The Bower Meadow 1872 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Bower Meadow was one of Lowry’s favourite paintings by the artist he loved most. Lowry famously said that he didn’t like Rossetti’s women at all but they fascinated him, which is why he ‘bought Rossetti’s work whenever he could’. According to one of his friends, Lowry ‘wished endlessly and, of course, hopelessly’ to own this picture.

Picture of Ford Madox Brown Wilhelmus Conquistador (The Body of Harold) 1844-61

Wilhelmus Conquistador (The Body of Harold) 1861 by Ford Madox Brown

Ford Madox Brown had lived in the same leafy suburb in Manchester (Victoria Park) where Lowry himself grew up prior to his parents’ move to Pendlebury. The Body of Harold was one of Lowry’s favourite Pre-Raphaelite works and is on loan to The Lowry for this exhibition from Manchester Art Gallery.

Picture of Dante Gabriel Rossetti The First Madness of Ophelia 1864

The First Madness of Ophelia 1864 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

When the famously frugal Lowry retired from his day job as a rent collector, he chose to indulge his fascination for The Pre-Raphaelites by acquiring work by some of its most prominent artists. The First Madness of Ophelia was a picture Lowry knew well in Oldham Art Gallery’s collection and he joked with the curator about the possibility of buying it. (To no avail!)

Picture of Dante Gabriel Rossetti 'Study after the attendant figures in Astarte Syriaca' 1879.

Studies for Attendant figures for Astarte Syriaca 1879 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

These striking chalk drawings are on loan to us from Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. They were made after Rossetti finished his painting Astarte Syriaca in 1877. ‘Astarte’ (an ancient Syrian goddess of love) was Lowry’s all-time favourite work by Rossetti and he made special arrangements to see these drawings in store in Sunderland.

Ann 1956 by LS Lowry

Ann 1956 by LS Lowry

‘Ann’ appears in Lowry’s work many times. Her identity has never been confirmed and it is thought that she is an imagined character, a composite of women that Lowry knew throughout his life. Lowry described Rossetti’s female portraits as ‘dream women’, a description that also fits Ann. Here her pose, head tilted down, is very similar to Jane Morris in ‘Proserpine’ – the only oil painting among all the Rossetti drawings that Lowry owned.