James Edward Owens was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1918, James Edward was his name, but he was Ned to all who knew him, he also studied art there in the 1930s.
He worked as a staff artist at the Manchester Guardian between 1958 and 1975, but he is best remembered for setting up the Midday Studios with his first wife Margo Ingham. After his wartime army service he jointly established a gallery, where Lowry was a frequent visitor. In 1948 the gallery held a one-man Lowry exhibition where it, was reported at the time the paintings sold briskly. Ned Owens – painted prolifically outside his Guardian work and lectured at Manchester School of Art for 10 years,
Ned’s marriage to Margot Ingham ended and he became disillusioned with Manchester which seemed to be in decline: the Manchester Guardian’s success drew the paper to London, and Manchester’s post-war renaissance never really flowered. He eventually got remarried and moved to the Lake District where he died aged 72.