Frances Lennon RIP

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I had the pleasure to photograph Frances Lennon, and was sad to here the passing of a great Manchester caricature. My image was to illustrate a story about here  being tipped as the next Lowry.


The artist from Trafford was well known for paintings of scenes and characters from her childhood growing up in the north west.

The official artist for the Manchester Commonwealth Games has died at the age of 102.

Frances Lennon rose to fame after landing the role at the 2002 games and was known for her scenes of childhood and growing up in the north west.

She was awarded honorary Master of Arts degrees from both Salford University and Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007.

She received an MBE from Prince Charles the same year.

Frances passed away peacefully at the Little Sister of the Poor nursing home in Longsight.

Her artwork was often compared to LS Lowry, but she was initially unaware of his paintings.

Grandaughter Anne-Marie Royle said: “When she eventually saw his pictures she said, ‘I remember, that’s how it was’.

“She remembered the Matchstick Man and said it was exactly how Lowry did it.

“But she was more influenced by Charlie Chaplin, silent movies and Felix the Cat.”

Frances left Adelphi House School at 16 and worked as a draughtman’s assistant at the Metropolitan Vickers factory.

She had painted all her life, but it wasn’t until her seventies following the death of her husband Bill that her art work was published.

Frances was married to Bill – a fireman who she met in Stretford, who served during the Manchester Blitz and helped to save Shambles Square from the Luftwaffe.

Anne-Marie said: “She was always painting fairytales for children.

“But she got really recognised for her memories of Stretford.

“My grandad had suggested that she painted the characters of Stretford, but it wasn’t until after he died that her work was recognised.”

Her work was published in a variety of books and her works regularly sold for £20,000.

She sold one painting for £13,000, which was donated to the Kirsty Appeal run by Francis House in aid of Kirsty Howard who was born with a rare heart condition.

Anne-Marie said: “She was 102 and died peacefully.

“She raised lots of money for lots of local charities like Francis House.

“She did a lot for the local community.”

She added: “She was a wonderful lady, mother and grandmother.

“There were a lot of people who got a lot of joy from her artwork.”

Read this Men article here  (use this link to see here work)

About the artist:

Frances Lennon, MBE (12 September 1912 – 24 January 2015) was an award winning British artist from Greater Manchester, probably best known for being the Official Artist of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Many comparisons have been made between Lennon’s work and that of fellow Stretfordian L. S. Lowry; her paintings have been described as “Lowry-esque, but with more humour”. Well-known collectors of her work include former Member of Parliament Winston Churchill.

Lennon was born on Haddon Street, in the Gorse Hill district of Stretford. She was the second child of Edward and Margaret Mooney, and grew up with her elder sister Margaret and her younger brother Wilfrid. Frances was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church at St Ann’s, Stretford and educated at the parish school between 1915 and 1923. She then went on to study at the Adelphi House Convent School in Salford, where the sisters of the Faithful Companions of Jesus discovered her talent for art. She also began drawing cartoons for Punch Magazine.

In 1928 Mooney began work as a draughtsman’s assistant at the Metropolitan-Vickers factory in Trafford Park. She married fireman William Lennon on 19 February 1938 at St Ann’s, Stretford and the couple moved to the Bradford Fire Station, in east Manchester. They moved back to Stretford in 1943, after her husband’s injuries during the Manchester Blitz forced her to return to work to support the family. She took a job with the Ministry of Defence as a draughtsman, drawing plans for new war planes. FThey remained in Stretford until the late 1970s, when they retired to Flixton, Greater Manchester.

Lennon began painting full-time after the death of her husband in 1982. She released several books, including best-selling collections entitled A Trafford Childhood (1986) and A Manchester Childhood (2001). In 2002 she was commissioned as the official artist for the Commonwealth Games and produced a special book of paintings relating to games and sports.

In 2003 Lennon was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles for her contribution to arts and charity, which included extensive work for the St Francis House Hospice in Didsbury. She was presented with two honorary degrees in 2004, the first from Salford University on 14 July and the second from Manchester Metropolitan University on 16 July. She died in Longsight, Manchester at the Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home on 24 January 2015, aged 102.











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Text is from wikipedia but edited by myself over time
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