John McEwen

More than Just Matchstick Men

L S Lowry: A Life

By

Haus Books 260pp £25 order from our bookshop

Shelley Rohde made an award-winning TV documentary with L S Lowry (1887–1976) and in the process became ‘an intemperate admirer of both the man and the artist’. Now, with the benefit of subsequently released private papers, she adds this compact picture-book tribute to the canon.

Lowry, an only child, had a reasonably privileged upbringing in suburban Manchester. Then his father, an estate agent, fell on hard times and the family moved downmarket to the industrial hinterland. Young Lowry avoided First World War conscription because of flat feet, and after his father died looked after his mother until her death. She was bedfast for eight years. He was fifty-two when she died and that he remained equally bound by her memory is an insistent theme. ‘Marry and make a life of your own,’ he once advised a similarly tied young man. His mother disparaged his artistic achievements and yet persuaded him to persevere. ‘She understood me and that was enough,’ he said. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,