Teeming with people, movement and small moments of engagement, ‘Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook’ is a lively composition that is typical of L. S. Lowry’s crowd scenes of the north of England. Renowned for his paintings of groups of people, interacting and yet often isolated from one another, the artist once commented about this particular aspect of his work:
“All these people in my pictures, they are all alone you know. They have all got their private sorrows, their own absorption. But they can’t contact one another. We are all of us alone – cut off. All my people are lonely. Crowds are the most lonely thing of all. Everyone is a stranger to everyone else. You have only got to look at them to see that.”
L. S. Lowry is one of the best known and enduringly popular artists of the 20th century. His works are painted in a deceptively naive style which disguised his observant draughtsmanship. In the wider public imagination, Lowry’s bleak factory landscapes populated by ‘matchstick men’ were often interpreted as stereotypical views of mid-century British industrial life.
Many of Lowry’s early works featured figures that had first appeared in earlier sketches. By the time he painted ‘Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook’ in 1946, his approach to modelling figures had become more stylized, a device that allowed him to capture the mood of a subject with the minimum of brushstrokes.
Lowry painted several views of northern English fairgrounds . A slightly smaller painting of the fair at Daisy Nook was exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1966; while a version of the same subject from 1957, was exhibited at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1976.
Throughout his life, Lowry viewed himself as a lonely man, telling the critic Edward Mullins, “Had I not been lonely, none of my work would have happened. I should not have done what I’ve done, or seen the way I saw things. I work because there’s nothing else to do. Painting is a marvellous way of passing the time, and very interesting when you get into it.”
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