‘The Observed and Painted City’ Lecture

Last night, nearly 20 people gathered at the Moses Greeley Parker Library in Dracut for an illustrated lecture by Richard Marion, who showed in Powerpoint format about 25 images of Lowell places, buildings, and scenes from among the hundreds that he has created in the past 40 years. The talk was organized into sections: Mills, Downtown, Rivers and Canals, Neighborhoods, and Bridges. Many of the images have been seen on this blog in the past year, from the Greenwood Bros. building on Lawrence Street to the remembered float planes on the Merrimack downriver from the city.

Interspersed with his comments about composition, line, form, and color were anecdotes like one about a recalled episode in family history when a man’s pay envelope went missing from the third floor of a tenement in Little Canada along the Northern Canal. The envelope with cash and coins had gotten scooped up with bread crumbs on a tablecloth and “lost” when the man’s wife shook the tablecloth out the window. There’s a happy ending to this story: the envelope that had gone in to the canal and had sunk to the bottom because of the coins was retrieved the next day when the canal was drained of water to allow for maintenance of the system.

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