Church Street, Clitheroe signed and dated 'L.S. Lowry 1964' (lower left) oil on canvas 40.9 x 30.8 cm. (16 1/8 x 12 1/8 in.)
PROVENANCE: Gifted from Laurence S. Lowry to Mrs. Prudence Kunzel Thence by family descent Private Collection, U.K.
EXHIBITED: London, Royal Academy of Arts, L.S. Lowry R.A., 1887-1976, 4 September-14 November 1976, cat.no.293
Painted on at least seven occasions by L.S. Lowry, it is safe to assume that this particular view of Clitheroe, a small town in Lancashire, was a firm favourite of the artist. The present lot (along with lot 27) has never previously been offered for sale, either at auction or with a gallery, having been gifted by Lowry to the family of the present owner. And it has been the best part of forty years since it was exhibited in public, at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (see exhibition history above). The paintings vary in size, but all are executed on a relatively small scale with this version being the largest known example from the group.
All of the 'Clitheroe Paintings', produced between 1961-1966, whether on board (see lot 27) or canvas are built up with Lowry's characteristic thick white ground, which had been allowed time to dry and 'age' before being worked upon by the artist. These pictures are beautifully simplistic, with clean lines and uncomplicated compositions; a handful, or two, of figures are added on the road, some accompanied by a dog, and the church spire appears beyond the brow of the street.
The Kunzel family are mentioned on at least two occasions in Shelley Rohde's biography of L.S. Lowry, where their relationship with the local artist is described as, 'In much the same way, he [Lowry] had responded to a suggestion from a family called Kunzel in Clitheroe that there was good reason to believe that, from way back, they might be related; from the time of their initial introduction he became a cherished member of their family circle.' (Shelley Rohde, L.S. Lowry, a biography, Lowry Press, Salford, first published 1979, p.329). Further on they are referred to again, this time being present at Lowry's funeral on Friday 27th February 1976, where the weather is described as, '...dark and as dank as he had said it would be.' (Op.Cit, p.438). Shelley Rohde's goes on to comment, '...but there were not two people but two hundred present: press men and press women by the score, artists and friends, gate-crashers and unknown admirers, the curious and the concerned, dealers and collectors. There was Kalman from the Brompton Road, and the Kunzels from Clitheroe in great distress; and tiny Mattie Lowry and all the Marshalls; and the Earnshaws from Sunderland, and Leggat and Robertson and Whalley; and representing the Royal Academy, Jim Fitton, who went home to paint a picture of the scene that day.' (Op.Cit, p.438).