The Ancients

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Railway Viaduct at Big Water of Fleet



Spirals and
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The Knocker-Up
A pal of mine once said to me,
Will you knock me up at half-past three?"
And so promptly at half-past one,
I knocked him up and said, "O John,
I've just come round to tell ya
I've just come round to tell ya
I've just come round to tell ya
You've got two more hours to sleep!"



Lowry died in 1976 aged 88yrs he had lived in various parts of Manchester and surrounding districts, for a time working as a rent collector. It was whilst walking from house to house that he drew the outline sketches that were to become his famous mill and back street pictures that even the young nodials must have at least seen one of them. His work is described by the art critic who helped him to get noticed as having a "very interesting and individual outlook. His subjects are Manchester and Lancashire street scenes, interpreted with technical means as yet imperfect, but with real imagination... We hear a great deal nowadays about recovering the simplicity of vision of primitives in art. These pictures are authentically primitive, the real thing not an artificially cultivated likeness to it. The problems of representation are solved not by reference to established conventions, but by sheer determination to express what the artist has felt, whether the result is according to rule or not..." Don't know much about that but you either like his style or you don't, me? I think he was in a class of his own only wish I had a couple of the buggers in the attic.

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In 1905 he started taking evening classes in drawing and went on to study at The Manchester Academy and Salford Royal Technical Colledge where records show he was still attending in the 1920's. He painted some stark landscapes of places that had suffered during the war and the blitz and some canvases he called dreamscapes because he had no idea at the start what they would finish up to be.
      Just when Lowry began to have success he was moving away from the subjects that everybody wanted him to paint. "Had I not been lonely none of my works would have happened". Some of his most power -ful pictures are deserted landscapes and seascapes. Some of the most difficult pictures to like are of solitary figures and downs and outs. "I feel more strongly about these people than I ever did about the industrial scene. They are real people, sad people. I'm attracted to sadness and there are some very sad things. I feel like them". Everything came too late for Lowry. But his late years saw him become a popular celebrity. He also became preoccupied about whether his art would last. "Will I live", he asked over and over again, like the art of the Pre-Raphaelites he collected and loved.

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Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs 
He painted Salford's smokey tops 
On cardboard boxes from the shops 
And parts of Ancoats where I used to play 
I'm sure he once walked down our street 
Cause he painted kids who had nowt on their feet 
The clothes we wore had all seen better days.

Now they said his works of art were dull 
No room, all round the walls are full 
But Lowry didn't care much anyway 
They said he just paints cats and dogs 
And matchstalk men in boots and clogs 
And Lowry said that's just the way they'll stay 

Now canvas and brushes were wearing thin 
When London started calling him 
To come on down and wear the old flat cap 
They said tell us all about your ways 
And all about them Salford days 
Is it true you're just an ordinary chap 

Now Lowries hang upon the wall 
Beside the greatest of them all 
And even the Mona Lisa takes a bow 
This tired old man with hair like snow 
Told northern folk its time to go 
The fever came and the good Lord mopped his brow 

And he left us matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs 
He left us kids on the corner of the street with sparking clogs 
Now he takes his brush and he waits outside them pearly gates 
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs 

More on Lowry

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