Grove Fine Art

The leading authority on L. S. Lowry

Ivan Aird - Memories with L. S. Lowry

L.S. Lowry was a family friend with a close working relationship with my father, George. 

In January 1967, L.S.Lowry attended my 1st birthday party.  Lowry would teach my brother to draw, occasionally throwing the drawings onto the fire at my mother's house.  My brother Philippe was a pupil at the Chelsea School of Art, he then became a full time  professional artist.

Saturday's were often spent with me and my father, George, collecting Mr Lowry from his home at The Elms. We frequently dined out at a hotel on the East Lancs road. I would have a glass of milk, and Mr Lowry would have fresh orange juice.  Halfway through the meal Mr Lowry would put his arm out to take my milk, in turn I would reach for his orange juice! He would then jump back and look away. He would tell me he had no money  and, to amuse me, he would suggest we all go to the toilets, and climb out of the window!  Lowry would always do a doodle at the table, and hand it to the lady who served us and brought us our food. The establishment has placed a plaque on the wall commemorating Lowry's frequent visits. 

After leaving the hotel, En route home, Mr Lowry would point to the same house, telling me ghost stories relating to that house.

We would return to my parents' house for a meal, my mother would make Potato Hash.  On one occasion Lowry had said to my mother, I might not be here next week!  So my mother said “oh that’s a pity I was going to do it again next week”, to which Mr. Lowry replied “well maybe I will be here next week!” My mother loved gardening, she made sure his hedges where always trimmed and left in a presentable way.

Lowry had many cobwebs in his front living room.  I asked about the cobwebs.  He told me to put a bowl of milk down everyday, so the spiders would run down the walls to drink the milk. For many years to come as a child I believed spiders drank milk!! Mr Lowry also had many grandfather clocks, I think I counted 16 clocks in total.  The clocks seemingly were set at different times?

My godfather, Mr Morris, who preferred to be called Johnny, was a good friend of Mr Lowry, he too would go to Mr Lowry's house, always taking biscuits.  On one occasion when I had been out with Mr Lowry, when we returned we discovered Johnny had posted biscuits, one by one, through the letter box.  Mr Lowry did a drawing for Johnny’s dog, Rex, I found it amusing Mr Lowry making drawings for a dog, but that was his humour!  Johnny & Rex would sleep together every night.  

I was aged 5 when I bought my first Lowry print.  I remember it clearly, it was a black & white.  This was one my father had printed, he charged me £4 for this, I only had £2.  It was unframed so Mr Lowry charged £2 for a signature.  Sadly, unbeknown to me, when the edition ran out my father sold it on without asking me.  He refunded me the £2 back, but to this day, the action my father took saddens me.  Mr Lowry told my father he would not do any more signed limited edition prints.  He became fed up with signing them, however, Lowry did tell my father he would sign more, but my father never asked again.  Mr Lowry always communicated with people via their surnames.  However, he referred to my family members with their christian names, those being: George, Joyce, Ivan, Philippe and Andre.

In 1976, my father owned the original painting of “Going to the Match”, at that time, the asking price for the original painting was £30,000. Today, a signed limited edition print of the same picture can cost more than £30,000. If the original painting went to auction today it would be circa £10,000,000.   The painting is now owned by the PFA (Professional Footballer's Association).

Mr Lowry kindly gave me and my two brothers a painting each, which my father has subsequently sold.

My Father smokes Senior Service, Mr Lowry would frequently request the outer cardboard so he could do a little drawing, which culminated in my father’s cigarettes placed loosely in his shirt pocket, I remember this vividly.

Fond memories of a lovely talented man.....