I’ve been curator of The Lowry Collection for six years now and part of my job is to learn as much about LS Lowry and his work as I can so that I can pass that information on to visitors in our exhibitions and displays.
My role covers everything relating to the artist, from curating special exhibitions of his work in the Galleries to answering enquiries from the general public. I also curate Lowry Favourites, our permanent display of works by LS Lowry – choosing which works are on display, writing text for labels and information panels and organising loans in from other galleries and private owners for visitors to enjoy.
The Lowry Collection is the largest public collection of works by LS Lowry in the world and many of our regular visitors are very knowledgeable about him, but we also have visitors who are coming in to an art gallery for the first time, so Lowry Favourites needs to be welcoming and enjoyable for everyone.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is meeting and working with collectors and other venues – you always end up learning something new about Lowry from them and it’s fascinating to hear the stories behind their works and how they came to own them. As well as borrowing pictures, The Lowry lends pictures and items from the archive to exhibitions in other galleries throughout the UK and beyond.
Most recently I worked closely with staff at Tate Britain and the curators of Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life which included 32 items on loan from The Lowry. A loan out on that scale is a huge amount of work and can include research, photography, condition checking and conservation, among other many other tasks.
As well as what you see on display in the Galleries, I do a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work. Last week, for example I was writing text for our website and working in the stores with a painting conservator who has been condition checking and carrying out some minor remedial work on paintings which will be going out on loan in the summer.
The first job I had was working in the National Galleries of Scotland’s publishing department, and helping with teaching sessions for school groups. Although I knew I wanted to work in a different area eventually, it’s amazing how many of the skills I learned then that I still use today.