In Brief

Lost Lowry painting expected to fetch £1m

Artwork, which has never been publicly displayed, to be auctioned next month

A painting by L.S. Lowry is to go on sale after being lost to the art world for 70 years.

The artwork, entitled The Mill, Pendlebury, portrays workers enjoying a day off and children playing cricket.

The painting, which has never been displayed publicly before, is expected to sell for between £700,000 and £1m when it goes on sale next month.

It spent decades in the US, where it was owned by influential medical researcher Leonard D. Hamilton, who died earlier this year.

The painting features a familiar Lowry scene, including his characteristic “matchstalk men” figures. A group of children is playing a game of cricket surrounded by families who are enjoying a walk.

On either side of the scene are terraced houses with the enormous bulk of a cotton mill in the background.

“What’s unusual about this is that it just doesn’t feature anywhere in the literature at all,” Nick Orchard, the head of modern British art at the auction house, told The Guardian.

“It is a lovely painting and a great composition. You’ve got everything you want in a Lowry… lots of people doing lots of different things, terraced houses, factories in the background. It ticks all the boxes.”

Speaking of his inspiration. Lowry once said in an interview: “One day I missed a train from Pendlebury, a place I had ignored for seven years, and as I left the station I saw the Acme Spinning Mill: the huge black framework of rows of yellow-lit windows standing out against the sad, damp charged afternoon sky.

“The mill was turning out. I watched this scene, which I’d looked at many times without seeing it, with rapture.”

The record at auction for a Lowry work is £5.6m. Two of his paintings went for that price: The Football Match and Piccadilly Circus. 

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