LS Lowry’s ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ painting goes on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool

The painting depicts the Royal Iris - one of Liverpool’s most famous ferries - on which The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers performed.

A painting of a Mersey ferry by artist Laurence Stephen Lowry has gone on display in Liverpool at the Walker Art Gallery.

The Royal Iris (1963) shows one of Liverpool’s most famous ferries, on which The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers performed.

Paul McCartney even name-checked the boat in his 2007 song, ‘That Was Me’.

The vessel was nicknamed the ‘fish and chip’ boat as it had its own chip shop on board. It also had a stage and a dance floor.

The Royal Iris (1963), L S Lowry

Ann Bukantas, head of fine art, said: “Lowry is probably best known for his scenes of working-class life in Salford, but excitingly this painting represents a very different side of his work.


“Instead of an industrial landscape, it shows a very calm river Mersey, and rather than his well-known ‘matchstick men’, we see a small number of boats with the ferry at the centre. The ferry itself is full of character.”

Other LS Lowry paintings on display

The painting joins three other works by LS Lowry on display at the Walker Art Gallery: The Fever Van (1935), The Liver Buildings, Liverpool (1950) and The Waterloo Dock, Liverpool (1962). The Fever Van is part of the Walker’s collection, while the other two works – like The Royal Iris – are loaned by the Alderson Smith Family.

The Royal Iris was formerly owned by Liverpool-born Robert Sangster (1936-2004), the businessman and racehorse owner. His father, Vernon Sangster, who died in 1986, was a collector of Lowry’s work.

The Royal Iris is on a long-term loan from the Alderson Smith Family.