Lowry painted and drew the ferry at Knott End a few times and the subject matter of ferries, piers, etc reappears in his work frequently. More generally, he had a long-standing interest in the sea, ranging from sketches of yachts made as a very young man (either off the Fylde coast or off the north Wales coast), to empty seascapes, studies of rocks in the sea, or ships coming into harbour or isolated on the horizon. He painted the yachts in Lytham St Annes too!
He had a long association with the Fylde as he had originally travelled to Lytham St Annes for family holidays when he was a young man, and later went there by himself. He was very familiar with this area and painted the landscape inland and some of the farms here on many occasions.
Those remembering his visits to Knott End say that he was not a talkative man but a deep thinker seeming to those who met him like he might have been in another world. He would look out across the front at Knott End and would go out sketching all around the local area and shoreline.
He would take a taxi from one of the places he regularly visited – Sunderland Point – to visit Knott End and Over Wyre.
Those who met Lowry describe how he used to make sketches on to hand; such as scraps of paper, toilet roll, envelopes and the back of hotel notepaper. He would sketch whenever the mood took him. These sketches were sometimes stick figures of his thoughts at the time. He wasn’t a materialistic man and would be dressed as you might find him, looking like he had just come out of his art studio when he went out and about.
He would find something else to exaggerate and draw in what he saw – accentuating odd features – eyes, nose anything outside the norm.
It was on one if his trips to Knott End that he painted ‘The Jetty at Knott End’ using oils on canvas. Mixing from his palette of five colours as he so often did.
Although Jeffrey Archer owned the painting in 2010 it might be that the picture is now in private ownership.
The Jetty at Knott End is reproduced in ‘LS Lowry: Conversation Pieces, Andras Kalman in conversation with Andrew Lambirth’, Chaucer Press, 2003, p.127. The text reads:
‘Also sometimes known as Jetty at Knot End. There was a vast Frenchman I knew who lived in England for a while and bought English pictures, particularly Sutherland and Lowry. I had 5 phone calls within a week telling me that there was a Lowry in a French auction. How had this happened? Apparently the man had got into financial difficulties. So I flew over, loved the picture and bought it. As we know, Lowry travelled the country to see new things that could give him motifs. This is an ideal Lowry motif – it’s humorous, it’s something different from the industrial scenes, it has space, it has children. Lowry himself never shuffled fast, he liked to saunter. These people are rushing, and that’s what he liked to paint, though he didn’t rush. The surface of the painting is quite heavy with impasto, which is typical of Lowry’s sea pictures.