Lowry and 1930s Britain Prep VI Art and History

Prep VI have been studying twentieth century Britain between the Wars and the effect of the Great Depression, especially in the industrial North. L.S. Lowry’s industrial landscapes are the perfect metaphor for the heavy grey blanket under which people felt they were living their lives with the spectres of poverty and unemployment hovering over them as they scurry, ant-like, in the shadows of the towering mills and grey-smogged skies.

We took our inspiration from Lowry’s painting “Coming from the Mill”, using the palette of colours that he would have used and studying his “flat”, naïve style and simple figures, whose postures and gait tell us so much about their moods.

The entire background was covered with a layer of white paint, as Lowry himself did, before painting the mills and terraced houses. Colours fade into the fog as the buildings move further into the background. The people were the final addition, drawn on in soft pencil.

Who catches your attention? Where are they going? What are they like?

It is amazing that, with just a few clues, one can start to build a whole life around these little figures…

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