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  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am-4pm
  • Friday 10am-4pm
  • Saturday 10am-4pm
  • Sunday 10am-4pm
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Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
More information

Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
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  • Monday 9.30am-5pm
  • Tuesday 9.30am-5pm
  • Wednesday 9.30am-5pm
  • Thursday 9.30am-5pm
  • Friday 9.30am-5pm
  • Saturday 9.30am-5pm
  • Sunday Closed
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LS Lowry – A Love of Berwick

Exhibition

Daily, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery

Lowry found great inspiration in Berwick, and he regularly holidayed in the town.

Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887-1976) is an artist well known for his depictions of industrial scenes in North West England. 

He is less well known for his paintings of the North East, particularly those showing England’s northernmost town Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Lowry was very fond of Berwick, and he holidayed here regularly from 1939 on, staying at the Castle Hotel, beside the goods yards and steam trains of Berwick Railway Station. His first known picture of Berwick is of Marygate and dated 1935. The artist continued to visit Berwick until the year before his death in 1976, painting roughly 30 finished pictures of the town altogether.

We are proud to have two paintings by L.S. Lowry on display at Berwick Museum and Art Gallery.

Beach Scene, c1960

‘Beach Scene’ is now part of the permanent collection at Berwick Museum and Art Gallery and a poignant reminder of the artist’s love for the Northumberland town. It was purchased for Museums Northumberland’s collections in 2019 with the support of Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, The Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives, and the Guild of Freemen of the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Spittal, on the opposite side of the river to Berwick, was a favoured walking place for Lowry, who probably reached it by travelling on the ferry across the estuary.  The painting shows the ebb and flow of a crowd of holidaymakers – and a little black dog – on the beach. Lowry uses thick brushstrokes and employs a light pastel palette of colours common to many of his other seaside pictures. Beyond the crowd several yachts tack across the background of the painting, painted in by a few deft strokes of Lowry’s fully charged brush.

Old Berwick, 1936

Full of character and charm, “Old Berwick”, painted in 1936, is one of Lowry’s finest portrayals of Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town that held considerable personal and artistic significance for the artist.

Lowry found great inspiration in Berwick, and he became a regular visitor after an initial stay in 1935 when he took a break on doctor’s orders from caring for his ailing mother. After her death in 1939, his visits to the town became more frequent, and he developed such a love of the town that he even considered buying the Lion House overlooking the sea in the 1940s. Older Berwick residents can still remember seeing the artist out and about with his sketchbook in town.

In “Old Berwick”, Lowry depicts Strother’s Yard, a picturesque, cobbled side street just off Marygate, shown bustling with people. Lowry’s paintbrush leads our eye towards the iconic clock tower of Berwick’s Guildhall, to this day one of the town’s most recognisable landmarks. This work featured in the artist’s key first one-man show at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1939, and so represents a seminal and key moment in Lowry’s career. The artist painted at least four views of Strother’s Yard out of a total of thirty paintings featuring Berwick over the years.

Excitingly, there is a second oil sketch on the reverse of painting, found hidden in plain sight underneath a host of gallery labels. This painting shows a set of railway lines, possibly Berwick railway station, which is situated just over the road from the Castle, Lowry’s favourite hotel, or perhaps somewhere on the now disused Tweedmouth line. One of the labels has been humorously amended by Lowry himself, so that “showing Old Berwick” becomes “showering, Old Berwick”

The work was first owned by Dr. A.L. Rowse, the British historian and writer celebrated for his scholarship on Elizabethan England and Shakespeare. He was the vendor when the painting was offered for sale at Christie’s in November 1967, after which it has remained out of the public eye ever since.

“Old Berwick” is on loan from HM Government

Museum Address

The Clock Block,
Ravensdowne Barracks,
Parade,
Berwick,
Northumberland,
TD15 1DG

Opening Times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm