Great Britain

Antiques Roadshow guest thrilled at eye-watering valuation for Lowry painting expert feared was fake

AN ANTIQUES Roadshow contestant was left chuffed after his iconic L.S. Lowry painting - which left the show expert "a bit nervous" - rocketed in price.

The gentleman had brought his much-treasured possession to the BBC One show's episode held in the grounds of Stonor Park, in South Oxfordshire.

With a stunned smile on his face he gushed: "I like the sound of that," after his huge potential profit on the artwork - amounting to £78,700 - had been revealed.

Antiques Roadshow's art historian Lawrence Hendra was fronting the final valuation of the day in the lush green surroundings when he was presented with a painting by the Manchester-based artist, called Figure Standing One.

The current owner had forked out £1,300 in 1998 for the portrait of the man, dressed in a black suit with a red tie and floppy hairstyle.

Before he explained how he came about the work, Lawrence candidly confessed he was apprehensive.

He told the BBC show: "So whenever I see a painting reportedly by Laurence Stephen Lowry on the Antiques Roadshow I should get very excited.

"But to tell you the truth, I get a bit nervous because not only was Lowry one of the most distinctive and popular - and valuable - British artists in the 20th centre, but he was also the most faked.

"But before we come to that, why don’t you tell us how it came to be in your possession?"

The gentleman, who was wearing a check shirt and knit gilet, revealed: "I was buying an antique bicycle in Christie’s and I got it for way below its value and so I had some surplus cash.

"And so I walked around and the consequence of that was I found that."

He excitedly added: "And I was a teddy boy and it looks like a teddy boy! And if you haven’t been a teddy boy, well, tough."

The owner then quipped: The fool and his money had soon parted" before he told how he shelled out a "£1300 - round figure," for the item.

Art historian Lawrence's initial fears were somewhat allayed when he discovered a letter accompanying the artwork.

He told the owner, and the crowds gathered in the rain: "Provenance with Lowry is crucial. Now, thankfully on the reverse of your picture, you have a label from the Lefevre Gallery who represented Lowry and who as you know sold many of his works.

"And you also have this letter. And this letter was sent to you by the Director of the gallery in 1998.

"He says - further to your later of 19 July - ‘The painting by Lowry, Figure Standing One was sold by us in 1965 for £175.

"That is absolutely crucial that you’ve got it."

Pre-empting his shock evaluation, Lawrence added: "In terms of value, now, I think, if your painting were to come up at auction, I would expect to see it sell for a figure in the region of £60,000 to £80,000."

Prior to the analysis, Lawrence, a director at Philip Mould & Company, touched on the appeal of Lowry's work, with many of his paintings depicting Pendlebury in Lancashire as well as Salford, Manchester and its surrounding areas.

These included portraits as well as industrial scenes and the Sunday evening show featuring his work was pretty timely, airing less than a week after the anniversary of Lowry's death.

Lawrence told the show he believed Lowry painted "the mood of the nation" and added: "So Lowry is an interesting artist and he’s popular for all the right reason, not least because he was an artist of the people.

"He was painting the scenes he saw around him - he didn’t care what people thought about them, he faced all sorts of criticism, people said the arms and the legs were too long and the boots were too big.

"His first exhibition wasn’t until 1939 and, in fact, it wasn’t until he retired as a rent collector in 1952 that he actually started panting full time.

"But he was hugely popular and he just painted what he saw - totally unpretentious and that’s why I think a lot of people are drawn to his work."

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