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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
Free, donations welcome.
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Curator's Top 5 'Must See'
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.
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.
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!)
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’ 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.
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Group Tour: Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites
£5 per person | 30 minute tour
This 30 minute tour explores LS Lowry’s passion for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and how they influenced his work and ideas.
The exhibition includes paintings and drawings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones and others. It begins by looking at how Lowry first fell in love with the work of the Pre-Raphaelites – notably attending major exhibitions in Manchester in 1911 and 1920, and seeing Ford Madox Brown’s wondrous murals in Manchester Town Hall.
Decades later, Lowry achieved his own success as an artist and began buying their work, particularly portraits by Rossetti, whose fascination for his models is reflected by Lowry’s repeated representations of the mysterious Ann.