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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Lowrys exceed auction estimates
Christie's guard with the Forsyth Lowry collection
A Christie's guard with the Forsyth Lowry collection
Nine paintings by LS Lowry from the collection of novelist Frederick Forsyth have sold for more than 1.7m.

Forsyth had said he was auctioning his collection of Lowry paintings because their "novelty has worn off", but they managed to exceed their combined estimate of 1m.

Lowry painting
Forsythe collected the works over 13 years
"I want to put something new on the walls," said the 62-year old best-selling author of The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File.

Among the paintings was a Northern River Scene - a dramatic panorama of the city of Lincoln - which was expected to fetch between 200,00 and 300,000.

The painting eventually sold for nearly 500,000.

A painting of Middlesbrough Town Hall, which Forsyth bought from entertainer Max Bygraves, sold for 245,750 - more than 50,000 more than its asking price.

A painting called The Bus Stop also fetched 256,750 while a Narrow Street was sold for 245,750.

Industrial landscapes

Lawrence Stephen Lowry was born and spent most of his life in Manchester.

Lowry
LS Lowry painted only part-time
His bleak industrial landscapes of mills and stick figures are justifiably famous, though for most of his life he painted only part-time while working as a debt collector and clerk.

"Lowry was a melancholy compulsive who painted the industrial north of England through deeply disturbed eyes, and caught aspects that nobody was prepared to look at," says art critic Jonathan Jones.

He was a complex, solitary man but public interest in his work slowly gathered.

'Isolation'

By the time he died in 1977 he was the most famous painter in Britain.

LS Lowry's Going to the match
Going to the Match sold for a record 1.9 million
Forsyth, best known for his books The Odessa File and The Day of the Jackal, described his attraction to the works.

"All seem to be locked in thought, some pressing forward upon a personal errand, some gazing melancholy into the distance, others about to say something to the figure next to him," he said.

The cachet of the best-selling author's interest in Lowry's work may have boosted the sales figures, as recent Lowry sales have not so been successful.

Last summer two Lowry paintings - Iron Works and Manchester City vs Sheffield United, failed to fetch their reserve prices at a Sotheby's auction.

Then in December an oil on canvas painting of a Welsh colliery was withdrawn from sale having failed to reach its price of 1m.

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12 Oct 00 | UK
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