ISHERWOOD, JAMES LAWRENCE
James Lawrence Isherwood was born and lived in Wigan where he devoted his life to painting and to his mother Lily.
During his life, Isherwood’s paintings were dismissed as worthless but since his death many collectors over the decades have collected them and for some, it has become an obsession with many collectors accumulating over 400 works.
James Isherwood was an eccentric character who travelled extensively. He had many shows over the years and many shows all over Europe.
He was well known for showing his work in a lay-by on the East Lancs Road, but his main show area was the Scarisbrick Hotel in Southport with the owners buying many excellent examples.
Isherwood did meet L.S. Lowry and he had an Isherwood hung in his home until the day he died. There are many similarities between Isherwood and Lowry. But unlike Lowry, Isherwood devoted his whole life to painting.
Isherwood went through bad times, some of his own making, but he did have a great regard for his paintings.
He trade them for food, drink and even other things such as car maintenance or a hotel room. He did sell them for next to nothing, then other times do well when someone bought the entire show.
He wore a cape, sandals and goatee beard with long hair but alcohol would prove to be a constant in his life and his mother Lily.
Many of his works depict local mills, streets and canals; others show scenes from Spain, Malta, London; rows of bottles (empty); racehorses; clowns; nudes; and of course, his mother.
Although Isherwood’s popularity has grown greatly in recent years the Daily Herald found him “compassionate, gifted and dedicated” in 1962 and the Guardian called him “a great and uncompromising artist” in 1975.
Despite the fact that James Lawrence Isherwood was so prolific and produced thousands of works, his paintings are becoming increasingly sought after.