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The Story Behind The Painting

Woman With A beard After L.S. Lowry

This painting is one of Lowry’s rare, real portraits. In an interview he recalls how, on one occasion when travelling by train from Cardiff to Paddington, a bearded woman boarded his carriage at Newport.

“She had a very nice face, and quite a beard. Well sir, I just couldn’t let such an opportunity pass, so I began almost at once to make a little drawing of her on a piece of paper. She was sitting right opposite me. After a while she asked rather nervously, what I was doing? I blushed like a Dublin Bay prawn and showed her my sketch – the one from which I later made a painting of her. At first she was greatly troubled, but we talked, and by the time the train had reached Paddington we were the best of friends. We even shook hands on the platform. People say “Oh, but you couldn’t have seen a woman with a beard like that!’ But I did, you know. They said the same thing about my painting of the bearded lady I saw pushing a pram in Winchester. But I saw her too! Although I’m afraid she wasn’t quite so nice. The moment I saw the good lady I pulled a scrap of paper from my pocket and hurried alongside her scribbling away. Well my dear sir, - her language – Oh! It was quite appalling! Oh, terrible! I wouldn’t dare repeat what she called me!”

David Henty’s Bearded Woman After L.S. Lowry is available


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