- Oil on canvas
- Purchased 1957
- (c) David Robert Lowry / Licensed by Viscopy, 2015
- 805 x 695mm
L. S. Lowry’s best-known paintings present rhythmic crowds of ‘matchstick figures’ spilling across tightly constructed northern English industrial and urban landscapes. The sparser setting of Factory at Widnes presents one of Britain’s grimmest environments, a birthplace of the chemical industry. Some have interpreted the trio of strolling bowler-hatted figures as factory managers, others as perhaps visiting comics – Charlie Chaplin and transatlantic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were still in the public eye when this was painted, and two of the three had performed in Widnes. Lowry had developed his own uniquely comical outlook over forty-two years while treading the streets of Manchester as a rent collector with the same company, from which he retired on full pension in 1952. This part of his story was long kept hidden from an admiring public.
(Leaving for Work 2 October 2021 - 1 May 2022)