Lowry and the Sea with Jonathan Horwich

Main House Theatre  |  26 May 2024

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LS Lowry. Tanker c1965. © The Estate of LS Lowry. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2024. Image © The Lowry Collection, Salford.

The Berwick Educational Association 10th Anniversary Lecture 

To launch Lowry and the Sea at The Granary Gallery, renowned art historian Jonathan Horwich explores Lowry’s lifelong fascination with the sea.  

From an early age, Lowry took family holidays to Rhyl, Lytham St. Annes and the Flyde coast. He made drawings of ships on the sea from the age of 8. During the Thirties, his coastal works are populated with his regular cast of characters, almost lifted from one of his industrial scenes and placed on the beach.  

However in later works, as he grows older, heavy ships move through the sea, with no sign of human involvement. These ships can be seen as more than carriers of cargo as Lowry himself referred to his feelings of mortality on viewing a large ship enter port.  

After trip to Anglesey, in 1944, not long after the death of his mother,  he was bored ‘almost to death’ and unable to paint anything. About a month later he was back at home and started to paint ‘empty seascapes’ and said ‘…I had seen, nothing but the sea, a sea with no shore and no boat sailing on it – only the sea’ 

Later he travelled extensively throughout the British Isles, and it was surely his fascination with the sea that brought him to the North-East Coast, Northumberland and Berwick-upon-Tweed, where as an old man could spend time contemplating the North Sea. 

Jonathan Horwich is recognised as an expert in 19th and 20th Century, Modern and Contemporary British and International Art and particularly for his knowledge of the work of L.S. Lowry. He appeared as a key expert in the Lowry focussed episode of the BBC’s Fake or Fortune and with Sir Ian McKellen on ITV’s Looking at Lowry.  

Jonathan started his career in the art world at the legendary London picture dealer Thomas Agnew. Following this he worked exclusively in the Auction world for well over 25 years including at Christies where he was Director, Auctioneer and Head of Modern British pictures and later Head of British and Irish Art, International Director of the 19th European picture department and Deputy Chairman. 

After Christie’s, Jonathan joined Bonhams as Global Director of pictures, where, while continuing his interest and involvement in Modern British Art auctions he established new Impressionist and Contemporary departments in both London and New York. 

In January 2016 Jonathan joined Phillips Contemporary Art department as Senior Specialist Director. He is a Council member of the Artists’ charity, the Artists General Benevolent Institute and is also a member of the Chelsea Arts Club. 

This lecture is sponsored by Berwick Educational Association to celebrate its tenth anniversary. For more information go to www.berwickea.org  

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