It wasn’t until he was in his later life that Lowry the artist became someone of real note. Just in time for photographer Sefton Samuels to capture his iconic shots of him. You can see these around the bar today. And you’ll notice that he is only smiling in one.
After seeing a sketch of Lowry asleep after Christmas Lunch at Sam’s Chop House local artist Harold Riley, our current owner, Roger, did some digging and unearthed the quiet man’s affinity with our Chop House.
Inspired by the statue of Ernest Hemingway at El Floridita in Cuba, Roger approached Preston-based sculptor Peter Hodgkinson, who has since completed a commission of Her Majesty The Queen. And the process of crafting the quiet man began.
Pete began with almost forensic intent. Inspired by what we might imagine as CSI:Chorley, the head took shape from the skull outwards, to ensure accuracy in its proportions. Taking cues from old photos, self-portraits and other bronze statues, he spent almost five months ageing and crafting the likeness to present a smiling, slim middle-aged figure.
Then photographer Sefton Samuels caught wind of the project. And when they saw his photos, Rog and Pete realised that something was wrong. It was the smile.
Within days our Lowry was entirely different. He was 25 years older, 25 kilos heavier and 25 times more the man depicted in the photos.
The clay mould was then cast in bronze, and Lowry was delivered to Sam’s.
But how to get him inside?
One entire window was removed, one crane employed, and several incredibly burly blokes grunted and heaved.
And now, here he sits. Pondering the back bar with his stern expression, getting barged into by irritated customers, having selfies taken and being flirted with by drunk ladies. Forever a part of Sam’s, in the heart of Manchester.
I still wonder why he preferred not to be remembered smiling
- Sefton Samuels,