At Biddle & Webb, we can never predict what will come through our doors – no two auctions are ever the same, and we delight in the weird and wonderful items we encounter. Lately, however, one name has cropped repeatedly: across our November and December auctions, we have been privileged to sell three prints by L.S. Lowry!
Laurence Stephen Lowry lived from 1887 to 1976, and has remained a well-known figure in the art world since his death. Throughout his painting career, Lowry worked as a clerk and rent collector, but studied art with his earnings: he benefited from private lessons with established artists William Fitz and Reginald Barber, as well as from evening classes at the Municipal College of Art (1905-1915) and Salford School of Art (1915-25).
Salford, and his local area of Pendlebury, Lancashire, serve as the inspiration for many of his most famous works: Lowry engaged with a number of themes and subjects during his career, but his most successful were his industrial landscapes. His work has been celebrated for its unique portrayals of everyday city scenes, and for capturing the lives of the 20th century working class, painted in his distinctive “matchstick men” style. All three of the prints that we have sold depict these industrial scenes: two of the three are prints of the same painting, ‘Market Scene in a Northern Town’, which highlights Lowry’s affinity for crowded urban settings.
To this day, Lowry’s industrial works remain his most popular and best-known, and we are proud to have sold our prints at prices that reflect this – in November, our first print sold for a whopping £5,000, and at our latest auction, our two Lowry prints sold for £3,200 and £3,400 respectively. We can only hope that we continue to encounter such impressive and prestigious works in the future.