Iconic LS Lowry painting coming Williamson Art Gallery

One of the most famous British paintings is to be displayed at Birkenhead’s Williamson Art Gallery & Museum.

LS Lowry’s masterpiece Going to the Match has left its home at The Lowry, Salford and is currently on a tour of five North West venues. The Williamson is the only venue on Merseyside the painting is visiting.

Going to the Match, painted in 1953, is LS Lowry’s best-known and most popular picture. Although he painted football-themed scenes before and after this date it is Going to the Match which has become iconic – an enduring representation of what match day means to fans.

The painting features Burnden Park, the original home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

That year, the Football Association, celebrating its 90th anniversary, had launched a competition called ‘Football and the Fine Arts’ and Lowry’s painting beat 1,700 entries to win first prize.  

Going to the Match will be displayed at the Williamson along with a selection of other works by L S Lowry loaned from The Lowry, Salford and private collections, showing lesser-known sides to the artist’s work and his approach. 

Also on display will be a selection of work from the Williamson’s own collections. These artworks will provide a broader survey of Northern art and artists, examining how Lowry sits within a wider context. They also explore how working-class leisure pursuits, and what they mean to their communities, have been portrayed from the mid-twentieth century to today.

This hugely important and much-loved work of art had been on public display at The Lowry, Salford since it opened in 2000, courtesy of a loan by the then owners the Professional Footballers Association (PFA).

However, following the decision by the PFA in 2022 to sell Going to the Match, there were no guarantees that any future owners would share the commitment to keeping the work on public view and free to access.

Following a high-profile campaign, Going to the Match was purchased by The Lowry in Salford for The Lowry Collection at the Modern British & Irish Art Sale at Christie’s in London in October 2022, thanks to the generous support of The Law Family Charitable Foundation.

Supported by a £95,000 grant from Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants programme and additional support from The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, the tour means that this iconic painting can be enjoyed by the widest possible audience across the region.

The exhibition will run from 19 April – 27 July.

Image courtesy of The Lowry

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