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Famous Lowry painting coming to Williamson Art Gallery

LS Lowry’s most famous painting is set to go on show at the Williamson Art Gallery from this week as part of a tour for the artwork.

Going to the Match will be on display at the Birkenhead gallery from April 19 to July 27.

Lowry painted the image – which depicts football fans arriving for a game at Bolton Wanderers’ old Burnden Park ground - in 1953.

It is being displayed at the Williamson alongside other works by Lowry and a selection of pictures from the Williamson’s collection which place Lowry in the wider context of painting in Northern England in the mid-20th Century.

Going to the Match was first exhibited at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1953, and in 1959 was included in a Lowry retrospective at Manchester City Art Gallery.

It had been on public display at The Lowry in Salford since the venue opened in 2000, courtesy of a loan by the then owners the Professional Footballers Association (PFA).

Following a high-profile campaign, it was bought for £7.8 million by The Lowry 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.

The painting returned to public display in November 2022 and The Lowry is now working with galleries and venues across the northwest to ensure that the piece can be enjoyed by the widest possible audience across the region, 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.

It has already been shown in Oldham and Blackpool, and following the exhibition at the Williamson it will go on to the National Football Museum in Manchester and to Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre.

Lowry, who was himself a Manchester City supporter, also painted other images of people attending sporting events, including the 1928 Going to the Match work which features a crowd heading for a rugby league game, and a second Going to the Match work from 1946 which pictures fans descending on a football ground.

Going to the Match is on show at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead from April 19 to July 27.


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