Helen Fothergill - Barges on a Canal and Derelict Buildings by LS Lowry

Podcast Transcript

Barges on a Canal and Derelict Buildings, L. S. Lowry

When I first came here, which wasn't that long ago now, we came up as a family - myself, my son and my other half and the first things that really had a major resonance with me were a couple of Lowrys that I found on the wall and I was very surprised to find them in Aberdeen. One of them is Barges on a Canal and the other is Derelict Buildings, and it really took me immediately back to my childhood. I grew up in an area where there were lots of woollen mills and during the 70s they were all being demolished and derelict buildings were all around the place. All the chimneys were coming down and half my family actually grew up working in woollen mills as well. So one of the first things I did when I was trying to explain the pictures to my 11 year old son who had no connection with the sort of Yorkshire/Lancashire area, was sing the Brian and Michael's song, and it was a very entertaining thing to do in a Gallery while people were eavesdropping on what we were saying. And again this is all about my childhood, it came out in 1978 and I don't know whether people remember it or not, but it was Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs and it was all about Lowry being a Salford boy and painting outside factory gates and painting the matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs on the bottom of cardboard boxes and talked about all of those sorts of things. It's actually about his life and being unrecognised or not as recognised during his lifetime. What's really interesting about the couple of paintings that we own in Aberdeen is that they were painted in 1941 and they were actually purchased in 1945 through a particularly enlightened bequest that the Art Gallery manages which was given to us by Macdonald, one of our early benefactors and collectors and his criteria was that we could only use the money to buy things that were less than 25 years old. So this was a really interesting thing for me seeing that in the Gallery and it's sort of convinced me to take the job when it was offered to me.