Group of Children by LS Lowry, £19,000 at Tennants.

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Generating decent interest when they appeared on the market for the first time, therefore, was a small group of 1960s drawings that had been traced back to the Manchester artist himself.

Offered at Tennants (24/20% buyer’s premium) in North Yorkshire on March 2, they included two pencil sketches and a biro sketch given by Lowry to his clock repairer Neville Blakey.

Lowry first met Blakey in the late 1950s when the artist took a clock to be fixed at the latter’s premises in Pendle, Lancashire. During his first visit Lowry did not reveal his identity. However, by the time he went to collect the clock Blakey had realised who he was and the pair, who had a mutual interest in horology, struck up a lasting friendship.

A small archive of correspondence, divided between the lots, included several letters Lowry had written on headed paper from Seaburn Hotel in Sunderland where he spent many holidays.

The largest and most valuable drawing of the group was Figures Young and Old, a signed 16½ x 11½in (42 x 29.5cm) pencil sketch of eight figures dated to 1969.

It was typical of Lowry’s later figures, which from the 1960s onwards became increasingly cartoonish and were often depicted wearing baggy garments and exaggerated expressions. The work was knocked down to a UK private buyer on bottom estimate at £40,000.

Group of Children, a smaller but more complete sketch from 1966 and inscribed verso To Mr and Mrs Neville Blakey, tipped over top estimate to sell for £19,000 to a UK private buyer who fought off competition from the trade.

The biro sketch, dated 1963, was included in an autograph book and was taken to £8000 against a £4000-6000 estimate. The latter, which sold to a UK private buyer, was accompanied by a ledger in which Blakey recounted the pair’s first meetings noting that “this delightful sketch was drawn in the drawing room… He visited us here … and we made return visits on many occasions to his house at Mottram in Longdendale. He was a most kind person…”

Brooke on the rise


Wensleydale Near Spennithorne by Anne Isabella Brooke, £6500 at Tennants.

Another highlight at Tennants was Wensleydale Near Spennithorne, a signed 14 x 21½in (35 x 55cm) oil on canvas by Anne Isabella Brooke (1916-2002).

The Yorkshire artist, who lived mainly in Harrogate, is principally known for her landscape oils of the local area. These have been steadily rising in value as demand has grown for works by female artists.

The picture at Tennants, with its appealing scene of the green and verdant North Yorkshire valley, attracted multiple bids before it was knocked down to the UK trade for £6500, one of the highest prices for the artist at auction.