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UK television personality Cilla Black's three paintings by L.S. Lowry may achieve over £1.2 when they are sold at Sotheby's in London.
She had been introduced to collecting by Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, who showed her various artists' works. She started to acquire them as money came flooding into her account.On such is Lowry's "Family Group" from 1938. It has an estimate £300,000 to £500,000 and is a slice of the northern working-class life that Cilla and her manager-husband Bobby Willis had grown up with.
Lowry did not paint from life, but this lifelike family conveys the problems of poverty and their steadfast desire to break free."The Black Church" from 1964 is forecast to sell for £120,000 to £180,000. This painting was bought by Bobby for his wife's 50th birthday. He purchased it mainly for the title, fitting her stage name, and it was a surprise, later hanging in their living room for years. This is a 'trademark' image, with the childish spire surrounded by factory smokestacks and scurrying figures. It is recognizably a Lowry, and indeed could only be such.
Cilla's other Lowry, "The Spire", from 1949 (estimate £100,000-£150,000) has meticulously-drawn though again imagined architecture. Its period figures are bent and may be fighting winter chill. The image recalls the dark overtones of his much earlier work and recalls the paintings of Adolphe Valette, who travelled from France to depict northenr English streets in similar ominous overtones.Cilla Black's sons said in a statement released by the auction house that the couple only purchased pictures that they absolutely loved and related to. Each of the pictures showed family life and day to day scenes and the family lived with them accordingly. Their father had a good sense of appreciation and knew what his famous wife would like. They were married for 30 years until his death in 1999.
The working class culture Lowry showed in his works mirrored her own Liverpudlian background and which she deliberately never lost, right down to her catchphrases such as
"All right, Chuck?" and "Lorra, lorra laughs."