L.S. Lowry, R.A. 1887 - 1976
Station Approach
Photo: R.A./Prudence Cuming Associates Limited
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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Station Approach, 1962
Oil on board, 407 X 509 X 4 mm
Diploma Work given by L.S. Lowry, R.A., accepted 1962
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Lowry’s Diploma painting depicts the frenetic movement of pedestrians and cars around Exchange Station in Manchester’s city centre. The crowded street is seen from a high viewpoint, reducing the figures to Lowry’s characteristic black silhouettes with daubs of muted colour. Although he more frequently depicted such figures amongst the factories and terraced streets of industrial areas, the artist painted at least two views of the approach to this station. Fond of saying ‘I only paint what I see, you know’, Lowry nevertheless habitually painted from memory or imagination. In this case, he took particular liberties with the station façade and with the statue of Oliver Cromwell which stood at the junction. In the background, the sky is tinged with smokey grey, almost obscuring landmarks such as the tower of Strangeways Prison on the right. Exchange Station was built in 1884 but closed in 1969 and has since been demolished.

This work is currently on display in the Reynolds Room at the Royal Academy of Arts and can be viewed by attending one of the free tours of the John Madejski Fine Rooms. Click here for further information about the tours