Lowry collection raises £5m at auction

image captionThe Steps, Irk Place, 1928 raised £713,250 at auction

A private collection of work by Salford-born artist LS Lowry has reached more than £5m at auction.

Bookmaking tycoon Selwyn Demmy put up the collection of 21 paintings and drawings for auction.

Christie's, which held the auction in London, said the collection was "the most extensive overview of Lowry's work ever to come to auction".

An oil painting - The Steps, Irk Place, 1928 - raised the highest amount at £713,250.

The painting, showing an area behind Victoria Station in Manchester called Irk Street where Lowry worked as a rent collector, had been valued at £400,000 to £600,000.

The collection, spanning a period from the 1920s to the 1960s, included landscapes and seascapes as well as the industrial scenes for which Lowry was particularly known.

Mr Demmy, who started collecting works by Lowry in the early 1990s, said he was "a Salford man born and bred".

'Huge pleasure'

"For me, the works of Lowry have a very powerful personal resonance as they capture the heart and soul of the people and landscape which I have loved and lived in all my life," he said.

"This collection of 21 paintings and drawings has brought me huge pleasure over the years.

"Art is not my only passion however and, as many know, I have been committed to improving the lives of destitute animals for many years.

"It is now time for these wonderful art works to bring joy, contemplation and friendship to new homes, whilst I focus my full attention on the animals which, like the famous and beloved stick dogs that scamper throughout Lowry's paintings, bring me great happiness."

All but one piece sold on Thursday afternoon raising £5,182,050.

Some of the money raised will be donated to the RSPCA.

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