Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Attenborough sells art for 4.6m

The top selling piece was LS Lowry's Old Houses

Film director Lord Attenborough's personal art collection of 20th century British paintings sold for £4.6m at an auction in London on Wednesday.

All 50 artworks were sold with most of the lots fetching more than the estimated price.

The top selling piece was LS Lowry's Old Houses, which raised £881,250 at Sotheby's auction house.

Lord and Lady Attenborough said: "We are absolutely thrilled that the sale did so very well."

'Wonderful memories'

The auction exceeded expectation, as the collection had been expected to sell for £2 million.

"The surprisingly heated bidding was an affirmation of sorts of our long-held belief in - and admiration for - the artists represented," Lord and Lady Attenborough said in a statement.

"The enthusiasm for our collection is also a reassuring indication of the great appreciation that will continue to be shown for these artists and their works.

"The lead up to the sale proved to be a rather special period of time in which many wonderful memories resurfaced about how each of the pieces offered came to be in our collection, and of the associations each one has had for us over the years."

As well as Lowry, the sale featured works by other leading artists such as Edward Burra, Ivon Hitchens, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Henry Moore.

Christopher Wood's Card Players, which Lord Attenborough originally sold to help finance the 1982 Oscar-winning film Gandhi and bought back years later, sold for £121,250.

Henry Wyndham, from Sotheby's, said: "The success of today's sale was a testament to the exceptional eye and taste of Lord and Lady Attenborough."

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