Jerwood Foundation

Lawrence Stephen Lowry (1887-1976)

The Canal Bridge, 1944

  • Details

    © the estate of L. S. Lowry. All rights reserved, DACS 2013

    signed and dated ‘L.S. LOWRY 1944’ (lower left)

  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Dimensions

    18 ¾ 11 ¾ in. (47.5 x 30 cm.)

  • Provenance

    with Lefevre Gallery, London.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, 22 June 1994, lot 105, where purchased.

  • Literature

    J. Sandling and M. Leber, Lowry’s City, Salford, 2000, pp. 82-83, illustrated.
    Collection Catalogue, Jerwood Collection, London 2012 p.33. Illustrated p.14.

  • On Display

    Room 5, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings

The Canal Bridge depicts the top lock at Fairfield on the Ashton Canal, which was completed in 1797 and joined Manchester with Ashton-under-Lyne. It would have been well known to Lowry, whose work was often based on familiar local places and believed that you should ‘paint the place you know’. In this painting, the main focus is the hump-back bridge, which was built high enough to allow horse-drawn barges laden with goods to pass under it.



Born in Manchester, Lowry regarded himself largely self-taught as an artist. On leaving school in 1904, he began work as a clerk with a firm of chartered accountants and then joined the Pall Mall Property Company as a rent collector and clerk, where he remained a full-time employee until his retirement (1910-52). Lowry did attend evening classes at Manchester College of Art (1905-15), under Adolphe Valette, and private classes with William Fitz (1907-15). He then attended the Salford School of Art (1915-25) under Bernard Taylor, who encouraged Lowry to use a white ground in his paintings.

Much of the inspiration for Lowry’s paintings of the industrial north was taken from his surroundings, particularly Pendlebury, near Manchester, where he lived from 1909-1948. He then moved to Mottram-in-Longdendale, Cheshire, where he stayed until his death. Lowry used a limited palette of five colours and, although he is best known for his industrial scenes, his subject matter was wide ranging and included, country scenes, seascapes and portraits. He exhibited regularly with the Lefevre Gallery, Royal Academy and Crane Kalman Gallery, London. He was elected RA in 1962 and retrospective exhibitions of his work include Manchester City Art Gallery (1959) and Royal Academy, London (1976).