‘Sunday Afternoon’ by LS Lowry

‘Sunday Afternoon’ by LS Lowry, £5.2m at Christie’s.

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With buyer’s premium added, the price was £6.29m.

Offered with a £4m-6m estimate, the painting came for sale on March 20 from the collection of Sir Keith and Lady Showering. Sir Keith, the former chairman and CEO of Allied Breweries, Europe’s biggest drinks business, died in 1982 and had purchased the painting from Christie’s in 1967 for a then-record sum for a Lowry.

The 3ft 9in x 5ft (1.14 x 1.52m) oil on canvas dates from 1957 and is thought to be one of around 13 works created on this, his largest scale. Almost all similar paintings of this size are now held in public museums including The Lowry, Salford; Tate, London; and National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

The scale of the picture, the panoramic view over a park with smoking chimneys in the background, the presence of large numbers of figures and its market freshness meant it ticked all of the key boxes in terms of commercial appeal.

The record for Lowry remains the £6.6m bid at Christie’s in 2022 for Going to the Match.

The overall total for Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art evening sale was £23.8m including premium which the auction house said represented a 23% increase year on year.