Analysis of thirty of Lawrence Steven Lowry's paintings have convinced art historians that when Lowry painted Matchstalk men and Matchstalk cats and dogs he was actually painting the dead. The dead that only he could see.
"We examined the time frames of when he painted his pictures," said art historian David Starkey. "There's a scene in he painted in Oldham, for example. The mill closed three years before Lowry would ever have seen the place. When he was collecting rent in that area, all that was left coming out of the factory was ghosts."
This idea has been backed up by actually examining the pictures coming out of Lowery's paintbrush.
"The people that we see are hideous," said Starky. "Take A Father with Two Brothers, they look dead. The eyes of every portrait are staring and dead. He's painting ghosts. We think that Anne, one of the major subjects of several paintings, was a girl he loved, but died, and she came to him many times."
It has long been known that Lowry could paint very well, his early portraits of people are exceptional, showing great talent.
"I've seen some of his early work," said Starky. "They capture the living essence of the person, he painted what he saw."
If it is true, and Lowry was painting the dead, how did he come by his unique talent?
"One of the little known facts about Lowry," said Starky, "is that he was a virgin on the day that he died. The pent up sexual frustration was what probably tore asunder the veil between us and the other side."