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Timothy Spall on telling the ‘fascinating’ story of artist LS Lowry and his abusive relationship with his mother

Celebrated British actor Timothy Spall is best known for playing Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films, and Winston Churchill in The Kings Speech.

But the artist of the big screen is also no stranger to taking on the role of visual artists.

In 2014, he won Best Actor at Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of English Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner in Mr. Turner.

In his latest role, he again plays a famous artist — LS Lowry — in Mrs Lowry & Son. 

“He’s one of our most interesting artists,” Mr Spall told 3AW’s Denis Walter.

“He was a rent collector all of his life and didn’t actually retire from his rent collecting until he was 65, when he was an associate member of the Royal Academy of Art.”

LS Lowry’s life was dominated by his difficult relationship with his mother, who he cared for.

“His mother … never missed an opportunity to tell him how much she absolutely hated him,” Mr Spall said.

The artist’s mother never appreciated his art, but he loved her dearly.

“Just at the point where he started to get renowned she died.

“He turned down an OBE, turned down CBE, a knighthood, an OM.

“He says ‘yes, that’s all very well but she wasn’t there to see it so it didn’t mean that much to me’.

“He said ‘my mother didn’t understand my paintings but she understood me, and that was enough for me.”

“That’s all he had. He never, as far as anybody had known, had an intimate relationship.”

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