It has been reported that three paintings by the legendary depicter of northern working-class life, LS Lowry, and owned by the famed singer and entertainer, the late Cilla Black, are to appear at auction.
The paintings Cilla cherished will be the highlight of Sotheby’s upcoming modern and postwar British art sale in June. The subject matter is, for the most part, typical Lowry-esque; including The Black Church 1964, which was bought for Black by her husband Bobby as a surprise 50th birthday present, and shows a crowd of stooped figures hurrying about a black church; then there is The Spire 1949, and lastly, Family Group 1938, which is a less-common domestic setting for Lowry, showing a family (containing a disgruntled and preoccupied-looking father) gathered around a table. Simon Hucker, a specialist in British postwar art, said of the painting: “It is quite psychological and very intense. It’s a family all sitting inside with their overcoats on, all looking in different directions, talking by not talking. It is a strong piece and quite a tough one and I think Cilla really reacted to it, partly because it is a world she really knew, but I also think it has a theatricality to it.” Black’s three sons divulged it was her manager, the notorious Brian Epstein, who first introduced her and her husband to the concept of buying art: “Dad had a good eye for seeking out great works, and Mum wanted to feel a connection to the works on a personal level, and Lowry was an artist they were both drawn to,” they said.
Hucker continued: “Lowry painted the world that she grew up in: the tightly packed terraces and backstreets of the cities of the industrial north,” he said. “His work records and celebrates the working-class culture that gave Cilla her identity and which she never wanted to lose despite becoming a national celebrity.”
The paintings, have a combined estimate of £520,000-£830,000, and will be auctioned on 13 June.