Page last updated at 20:16 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 21:16 UK

Lowry painting exceeds estimate

Berwick-upon-Tweed by Lowry
The painting was predicted to fetch between 300,000 and 500,000

A painting by LS Lowry which was bought by Cambridgeshire County Council in the 1940s has been sold at auction for £541,250 - £40,000 above its estimate.

The council decided to sell the 1935 painting of Berwick-upon-Tweed's market place to raise money for its cultural programme.

The painting was predicted to fetch between £300,000 and £500,000.

The artwork, bought for 30 guineas in 1945, went to an unnamed buyer at auction at Christie's in London.

The work, by Laurence Stephen Lowry, was acquired directly from Lowry's agent by Henry Morris, who was then chief education officer of Cambridgeshire County Council.

'Highly desirable'

On Thursday, it was offered at the 20th Century British Art sale by the Cambridgeshire Schools' Art Collection of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Money raised will go towards the Cambridgeshire Culture programme, to support the cultural experiences of children and young people.

Rachel Hidderley, Christie's international specialist and director of 20th Century British art, said: "We are very pleased... especially as the painting was sold in order to raise the necessary funds to safeguard Cambridgeshire County Council's cultural programme.

"This is a wonderful example of a top quality work by one of the 20th Century's most popular artists - a classic street scene painted during the golden, middle years of Lowry's career.

"The picture has attracted great interest ... with its unbroken primary source provenance, and excellent original condition.

"This is a highly desirable work of art which has now found a new home."

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