Wednesday, 10 July 2013

1920 - Conversation at a Lodging House

Conversation at a Lodging House 1920
34 x 24 cm
Sold [June 2004] for £9,635 including premium
Signed "L S Lowry" and Dated, 1920

The doorstep scene shown here is typical of those Lowry would have witnessed daily. From 1910 - 1952 Lowry worked for The Pall Mall Property Company, collecting rent from tenants in the poorer areas of Manchester and Salford each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. He worked in the office on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday.

It is possible that the man in this drawing could be identified with Lowry, who was tall, and usually wore a hat or cap when outdoors. Certainly the male figure in this drawing is a detached observer rather than a participant in the scene. In the 1910's and 1920's Lowry frequently sketched on scraps of paper and old envelopes, whilst on his rent collecting rounds. There is a drawing, dated 1922, "The Rent Collector" (private collection), with a tall hatted man collecting the rent in a cramped interior (Cf. Rohde, Shelley, L. S. Lowry, a biography, 3rd edn., 1999, p.91, repr.).

Lowry used the doorstep as a setting for both paintings and drawings, particularly in the 1920's and 1930's. These works include "Outside a Lodging House", Manchester Art Gallery, "The Arrest", Nottingham, Castle Museum, and "A Fight", Salford Art Gallery.

Lowry seems to have been particularly fond of including lunette windows in his drawings and paintings, as prominently shown here. They are a frequent feature in many of his street scenes.

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