Three lost sketches by LS Lowry that were stashed away in an art folder for 60 years were found when their new owner dug out an old frame to reuse.
The unknown sketches, two of which were concealed in a picture frame, were made by the Mancunian artist in 1959 and 1961 when he was painting his notable matchstick men works. Lowry is believed to have given the drawings to Mary Morgan Lloyd, a pal who was an art teacher at the Liverpool School of Art.
After she died 20 years ago, her collection of loose work was acquired by an art aficionado from Lincolnshire. The owner was oblivious that the portfolio of art and ephemera held the three Lowry drawings and put them in a cupboard. Then, when she reused a frame from the collection, she found the two Lowry pictures hidden behind the print.
One was his portrayal of a tramp wandering past a house, and the second was a multicoloured illustration of a lady visiting a country cottage with a blue Mini parked outside. Lowry autographed and dated both pieces. Although Lowry produced the two sketches while creating his famous matchstick men paintings, the drawings bear little similarity to his best-known style. The artist died in 1976, aged 88.
The seller, who requested to remain nameless, has chosen to put all three original drawings up for auction for £20,000 each. They are being sold by Unique Auctions of Lincoln on October 23, with a guide price of £60,000. Darryl Kirk, head of marketing at Unique Auctions, said a relative of Mary Morgan Lloyd had bought the collection in the early 2000s.
“Several months ago she decided she wanted to re-use the frame a print was in. She took it out and there were these two small drawings with Lowry’s signature on,” he said. “She then went through the rest of the collection and found another Lowry sketch of two landscapes. She was very excited. The vendor thought there was no point in keeping them. After all, she had them for 20 years without realising. They have never been seen before. It is unusual to get three original undiscovered Lowry drawings to come to auction simultaneously. They are fresh to the market and we hope they will attract a lot of interest.”