International music icon, Sting, made a surprise visit to The Lowry gallery last night to view a work by LS Lowry of the Swan Hunter shipyard at Wallsend that inspired his musical, The Last Ship.

Sting was at The Lowry for the opening night of The Last Ship which tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend, including the closure of the Swan Hunter shipyard.

He would have been just 17 when the then 81-year-old LS Lowry sat and sketched the scene that would become Narcia fitting out on the Tyne in 1968.

The painting is on loan from the collection of The University of Salford’s Art Collection and has been added to The Lowry’s permanent exhibition, LS Lowry: The Art & The Artist for a year.

Sting said: “What a lovely surprise to discover that the shipyard which was such a powerful presence in my own life also provided inspiration for one of our greatest artists, LS Lowry.”

The Last Ship runs at The Lowry until Saturday 7 July.

Swan Hunter built some of the most famous ships of the 20th century – including the Carpathia, famous for recusing survivors from the sinking of the Titanic; and the Mauretania, holder of the Blue Riband for 20 years for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic.


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