An iconic painting, depicting a scene of Bolton’s footballing heritage, is set to go on display in the very town that inspired the artist.
L.S Lowry’s “Going to the Match” will be part of a special exhibition at Bolton Museum next year.
The 1953 work shows fans arriving for a Bolton Wanderers game at their former home of Burnden Park.
It was put up for auction at Christie's last month and was eventually sold to The Lowry centre in Salford for a record £8.1m.
The purchase was made possible by a gift from the Law Family Charitable Foundation, and followed a public campaign fronted by Salford Mayor Paul Dennett.
At a special celebration event at The Lowry last night, Chief Executive Julia Fawcett confirmed the masterpiece would be making its way to Bolton in 2023.
Once there, it will be the centrepiece of the exhibition “Going to the Match: L.S. Lowry & Bolton Wanderers”, opening on Saturday 25th March.
The exhibition will explore Lowry’s links to Bolton and the wider history of Bolton Wanderers.
Working with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, the project will include an ambitious programme of visitor engagement.
'Going to the Match’ is a key part of our sporting and cultural heritage.
At the heart of the exhibition will be the stories of Bolton Wanderers fans, the very people celebrated in Lowry’s painting.
Bolton Council Leader, Cllr Martyn Cox, said:
“’Going to the Match’ is a key part of our sporting and cultural heritage and I was delighted to hear it will be staying in the North West where it belongs.
“For such an important work to be loaned to us so soon after the auction is a real coup for Bolton, and I would like to thank The Lowry, Mayor Dennett, and all our friends in Salford for this wonderful gesture.
“I’m sure visitors from across the borough, and further afield, will take the opportunity to view the painting in what is sure to be a fascinating exhibition.”
The Lowry’s CEO, Julia Fawcett, said:
“We passionately believed that this iconic, much loved painting belonged to the north and we made a commitment that, if we were successful, we would ensure that as many people as possible across our region would have the chance to see this important part of our history.
“It is fitting that, in making good on that promise, the painting will be on view in Bolton, in an exhibition celebrating the very football club that inspired LS Lowry.”
Phil Mason of Bolton Wanderers in the Community said:
“Lowry’s painting is a great representation of how ordinary fans help make a football club what it is.
“We look forward to bringing some of these stories to life as part of the exhibition, which will celebrate the vital role Bolton Wanderers continues to play in our local community.
“I am sure the exhibition will be enjoyed by all visitors, whether they are football fans or not.”
The exhibition is currently scheduled from Saturday 25th March to Sunday 26th June. The “Going to the Match” painting will be loaned to Bolton for two months during this period.