A pencil drawing by famous Lancashire artist Laurence Stephen Lowry sold for £13,000 at a successful auction at Halls on Wednesday.
The small drawing, titled ‘Tanker entering the Tyne’, went under the hammer at leading Shropshire fine art auction house Halls’ £300,000 two day auction of paintings, silver, jewellery, watches and coins.
The buyer was a Shropshire art collector who held off strong competition to secure the work, which featured in an exhibition titled ‘L.S. Lowry in the North East’ in 1989 at the Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery.
“I believe it was drawn in the 1960s, which is when it has been documented that Lowry was producing a number of works depicting shipping in the Tyne,” said James Forster, Halls’ picture specialist. “I am delighted with the price, which exceeded my expectations,”
Lowry (1887-1976) is famous for painting scenes of industrial North England in the mid-20th century with his distinctive stylised human figures often referred to as ‘matchstick men’.
Many of his drawings and paintings depict Pendlebury in Lancashire, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years and also Salford and surrounding areas.
A limited edition signed self-portrait print of Lowry and others of his mother and father also sold well in the auction, realising £750.
One of the day’s surprise packages was a portrait of a lady by a follower of Willem Wissing (1656-’87) which sold for £7,500 despite being in poor condition, having been discovered in a house in Ludlow following the death of the owner.
“The painting was literally covered in bird droppings when I was first saw it amongst a lot of other paintings,” said Mr Forster. “Despite being unsigned and requiring multiple repairs, there was a lot of interest in it, with five telephone bidders competing against the buyer in the saleroom.”
Other leading prices in the pictures section included £5,150 for a Parisian street scene by Eugene Galien-Laloue (1854-1941) titled ‘La Porte Saint Denis and £3,000 for an early still life painting by modern British artist and sculptor Michael Ayrton (1921-’75), which Mr Forster discovered at an antiques valuation event in Southport.
There were signs of a revival in landscape paintings by recognised artists as works by William Mellor (1851-1931), Thomas Sidney Cooper (1803-1902) and William Gersham Collingwood (1854-1932) sold for £3,200, £2,200 and £1,600 respectively.
“It was a very encouraging auction because not only were modern British artists like L. S. Lowry selling well, but we also saw renewed interest in 19th century landscapes by the likes of Mellor and Cooper,” said Mr Forster.
“Fresh to the market certainly helps, but I think people are now recognising that it’s a good time to buy oils by recognised names and watercolours by leading artists are still selling well.”