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How to "fake" a Lowry

I enjoyed Sunday night's Fake or Fortune programme that attributed a sketch to Gauguin, and also proved that a painting claiming to be by Gauguin was a forgery. The programme reminded me of some 'forgeries' I produced earlier in my career!

In 1980 I was asked by the director and producer David Wheatley to make replicas of L S Lowry artwork to be used on the set of a film he was making for Granada TV titled L S Lowry: A Private View. This was based on a book of the same name by Shelley Rhode

Prior to this, I only knew of the 'matchstick' figure paintings by Lowry. When I looked at his work in depth I was surprised to see the representational self portraits and figure drawings that he produced, earlier in his career, whilst attending evening classes at Manchester Art School.

The film traced the development of Lowry from his early days to his studio in Mottram. I was asked to reproduce life drawings, and paintings from across his career.

For example, one film set was to replicate the life room at the art school - so I had to make a series of drawings for each one of those students who attended classes, including Lowry.

Additionally , I had to copy many of his works to fill his studio on the film set, including the painting 'man lying on a wall' as well as many other lesser known works. The more familiar works were surprisingly tricky to technically reproduce. He often started with a white impasto ground superimposing his figures on the surface, which again was relatively thickly painted.

I did not attend any of the filming of the programme, but I asked David Wheatley if I could have the Lowry drawings and paintings that I had copied when the film was completed. However, he told me later, that on the last day of filming the crew and actors had descended onto the film set, and they had taken all of the art work that I had produced.

What is of concern to me, and a potential nightmare, is that some of the work might resurface in the future and be passed off as original Lowry paintings and drawings!

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