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Artists and Architects Associated with Manchester

See Also: Local
Artists of the Region

L S Lowry

L. S. Lowry

Lawrence Stephen Lowry was born in Rusholme, Manchester
in November 1887, the only child of Robert Stephen McAll Lowry and
Elizabeth Lowry (n�e Hobson). He attended a local school in Victoria
Park, 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 is unquestionably the most celebrated of Salford’s artists, and
his unique contribution to recording the period culture and landscape
of the city is without parallel. His work is a most distinctive and
comprehensive record of the pre- and post World War Two northern industrial
His so-called “Matchstick men” became virtually his trademark. He
worked around Manchester, Salford,
Stockport and Mottram, where
he lived for a time. A large collection of his work is held at the
new Lowry Gallery at Salford

The Sculpture of Lowry in Sam's Chop House Restaurant in Manchester city centre - one of Lowry's favourite ghaunts.
The Sculpture of Lowry in Sam’s Chop House
Restaurant in Manchester city centre –
one of Lowry’s favourite haunts.

Sir Norman Foster

Norman Foster, Architect

(b. 1935)
Norman Foster was born in Manchester in 1935. He initially trained,
from the age of 21, at the University of Manchester School of Architecture,
and later in 1963, studied at Yale University in the USA. He went
on to work briefly with the great Buckminster Fuller and then with
Richard & Sue Rogers, as well as with his wife, Wendy Foster, as a
member of “Team 4”. In 1967 he founded his own company, Foster Associates,
in London.
The high tech forms of Foster Associates demonstrated an original
and innovative exploration of technology, as well as showing an overt
dedication to quality of detail and craftsmanship. The company specialised
in industrialised modular design which made extensive use of prefabricated
off-site-manufactured elements.
In 1983, Foster was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’
Royal Gold Medal and in 1990 the RIBA Trustees Medal was awarded for
Fosters design of the Willis Faber Dumas Head Office building in Ipswich.
He was knighted in 1990, and received the American Institute of Architects’
Gold Medal in 1994.
In June 1999 he received the Pritzer Architecture Prize. He currently
has offices in London, Berlin, and Singapore, with over 500 employees
Other notable Foster buildings include:

  • Sainsbury Centre – University of East Anglia
  • The Renault Distribution Centre, Swindon
  • The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Tower (1986)
  • ITN Headquarters, London (1988-90)
  • Terminal for Stanstead Airport (1981-91)

Ford Madox Brown

Ford Madox Brown
Ford Madox Brown

A much travelled artist, Madox Brown’s main connection to the City
of Manchester is his murals in Manchester
Town Hall
. Born in Calais, and having studied painting in Antwerp,
Bruges and Ghent, his early work was inspired by masters like Rembrandt,
and others whom he had studied in the Louvre in Paris.
On meeting Dante Gabrielle Rossetti in 1848, he became acquainted
with the painters of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, (John Everett
Millais, William Holman Hunt, and others – and developed a style of
realism, detail, light and colour under their influence, as well as
working as a decorator with the William Morris company.
Two of his most famous paintings, “Work” and “The Last of England”
are to be found in the Manchester
City Art Gallery
. Together with Frederick Shields, Madox Brown
was commissioned in 1878 to paint mural decorations for the Great
Hall in the newly built Town Hall. Shields eventually dropped the
project and Madox Brown painted all 12 murals, taking 15 years to
complete them.
Madox Brown preferred to paint from life rather than “invent” objects
– for example, he erected a tent in the Great Hall as a model for
that in the painting of “The Expulsion of the Danes”, disrupting an
organ recital in the process. During this time “Work” was also purchased
by Manchester Corporation.

Mural by Ford Madox Brown
See also: Madox
Brown’s Manchester Town Hall Murals

Adolphe Valette

Adolphe Valette, painter

A French painter born in St Etienne in 1876, who was inspired by the
natural urban landscape of Manchester and produced some of his finest
paintings in the region. Having been trained in France during the
height of the Impressionist movement, continued his studies in London
and with scholarships to study in Japan, he moved to Manchester in
1905 to work for a printing company, designing greetings cards and
After joining evening classes at the Municipal School of Art, he was
invited in 1907 to join the staff as a teacher. He employed a distinctive
French style of teaching, sitting and painting with his students –
a style which was unknown in Britain at that time. His style evidently
found the approval of his students, as his most notable prot�g�, L.S.
Lowry felt that he had brought with him “a much needed injection of
vitality from the colourful art world of France”.
Lowry admired and learned a great deal from Valette, who had introduced
him to the possibility of painting the urban landscape. Ill health,
caused him to resign from his post in 1920, and after a few years
teaching and painting in Manchester and Bolton
he returned to France, where he died in 1942.
His style was distinctively Impressionist, and this mixed with the
damp foggy atmosphere of contemporary Manchester enabled him to produce
some of his best known paintings.

Alfred Waterhouse

Alfred Waterhouse

A renowned English architect, who was responsible for many of Manchester’s
great civic buildings, including Manchester
Town Hall
. Waterhouse was born in Liverpool and was educated at
the Grove School in Tottenham, London. As a young architect he spent
many of his early years travelling in Europe and studying in France,
Italy and Germany.
Later he set up an architectural practice in Manchester, where he worked
for twelve years before moving to London. During his time at Manchester,
he was in great demand for the many new public buildings that the Manchester
authorities commissioned – The Refuge Assurances Building in Oxford
Street, (now the Palace Hotel), The National Provincial Bank, the original
Owens Park building, (now the University of Manchester), and Strangeways
But of all these, his most notable was certainly the new Manchester
Town Hall. The triangular site called for original and innovative thinking,
and Waterhouse’s skilful design overcame all difficulties, (against
celebrated competition), resulting in a striking Victorian neo-Gothic
which was admired by the general public as well as his contemporary
He also produced many fine buildings for the City of Liverpool,
and designed the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Waterhouse
is best known for his public buildings, but he also produced many smaller
domestic buildings as well as his own house in Fallowfield (now gone).
Amongst the many honours he received was his presidency of the Royal
Institute of British Architects from 1888-1891 – a post which both his
son, Paul and grandson, Michael held after him.

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This page last updated 9 Feb 13..