Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in Barret Street in Stretford, Manchester on 1st November 1887, the only child of Irish-born R S Lowry and Elizabeth Lowry (née Hobson). He attended Victoria Park School, but took private lessons from William Fitz, before starting work as a clerk for a firm of chartered accountants in 1904.
From 1905-1915 he attended drawing and painting classes at the Municipal College of Art (later Manchester College of Art, and now part of Manchester Metropolitan University), where he was tutored by Adolphe Valette. He moved to Pendlebury in Salford with his parents in 1909, where he was to live for nearly 40 years. During this time he attended art classes at Salford School of Art, developing an interest in the urban and industrial landscape.
He exhibited with the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts from 1919, as well as entering paintings in the Paris Salon. By the early 1930s he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy in London. He was awarded an honorary MA at Manchester University in 1945, and Doctor of Letters in 1961, elected to the Royal Academy in 1962, and given freedom of the City of Salford in 1965 - many other honours followed later. He lived in Mottram until he died in 1976.
L.S. Lowry is unquestionably one of the most celebrated British artists and his unique contribution to recording the period, culture and landscape of the industrial north is without parallel. His work is a most distinctive and comprehensive record of the pre- and post World War Two northern industrial town. Many people associate Lowry with "Matchstick men" which became virtually his trademark, but he also produced a large number of empty landscapes and seascapes which are now recognised as masterpieces in their own right. Later in his life he concentrated on producing paintings of figures either singly or in groups, invariably against a white background.
He also produced thousands of pencil drawings during his lifetime, these are now very collectable and the best ones are incredibly detailed.
Lowry's status as one of the major British artists of the 20th Century was reinforced when the painting "Going to the Match" was sold at Auction for a record £1.9 million. The Lowry Centre in Salford Quays, Manchester now holds a major collection of his work.