L.S. Lowry

R.B.A., R.A.

Over thirty years specializing in L.S. Lowry's limited edition prints

Unfortunately.... gathering, true, honest advice about signed, limited edition prints by Lowry can prove to be an absolute minefield.
Many, dealers/galleries will only tell you information which is beneficial to them, either making a sale or buying your print.

The fact that prices can have such dramatic difference for the same title, should trigger a few warnings...
Naturally a well located gallery in the city can have enormous overheads, so the price will reflect this, which is only to be expected.

However, some titles are more susceptible than others to fading, eg. 'Britain at play', where 90% of the edition has turned a monotone blue due to colour loss.
Whereas other titles, eg. 'The Beach' 'Street scene' 'Industrial scene' have been printed on good paper with light fast inks and you would never usually see fading.

It is not possible to 'lump' all the Lowry sales together and give an average figure eg. £3,000.
Some will be very fine examples and command a high price, and others may be in such poor condition that they are virtually worthless;

Also the prices of titles vary tremendously, eg. 'Going to the match' might be £45,000 to 65,000
whereas 'Woman with beard' or 'the lonely house' might be only several thousands or less, even in good condition.

I would say there is definately a 'pecking order' of Lowry titles, and although 'Going to the match' has always been the most expensive, it is not in my opinion the most sought after...
The top ten from my experience over 35 years is:-
The Cart and Man lying on a wall
The Fever Van
Our Town
Peel Park
Britain at play (in mint condition)
The Pond
The Contraption
View of a Town

Quite frankly there have only been some 50+ titles published, which are all over 50 years old, and Lowry's work is held in such high regard these days,
many galleries like to have several Lowrys on display to give credibility to their own 'in house' artists
They are of course a beautiful compliment in a modern contemporary, minimalistic setting.

So as long as you buy at the 'right price' and in good condition from a trusted dealer, it should prove to be a good investment.

Some dealers seem to give a price guide for the work.. whether to attract buyers, or sellers, I am not sure, but their estimates are way out and give a totally false view to any potential buyer/seller
(based on sales, taken from the internet over the years that they have not inspected ) which only achieves in confusing a potential purchaser or vendor.

There seems to be a need to clarify certain beliefs or misconceptions / misinformation regarding Lowry's signed limited edition prints and those of other artists.

Is the Number in the edition is important?;

I have noticed recently, more potential clients asking which number in the edition is a certain title..?

All Lowry's signed limited editions are photo lithos, which basically means that when they were published, the entire edition was identical.

ie. There is no difference in condition or value between any particular number.

This reasoning stems from the 'old days' when prints were produced by hand on an etched plate... it was considerd that the earlier numbers were clearer.

These days the quality of printing far exeeds the old printing techniques, and it is impossible to see any difference even between the original Ganymed lithographs.

It should be noted however that the condition of the print is of utmost importance, and it is imperative that it has been kept well for the last 50 or so years,

as no conservation framing or special museum UV blocking glass existed in the early days.

It is a good idea to use conservation framing and museum glass on your work, but..
it is the print's present condition that should be considered initially, as it is no good to 'close the gate after the horse has bolted'.

Is it better (more valuable) to retain the original framing?;

People have been told that it is always better (more valuable) to retain the original framing.
This is quite simply nonsense.

Many prints have been poorly framed in the 1970's attached with sellotape, in mounts that were not acid free.

The value is in the work itself, not the frame.

Some people prefer to leave the work in their original frames to give a little extra character and authenticity , but it most definately does not help the overall value.

Again, this reasoning comes from antiques, or classic cars, where it is essential to retain as near as possible the original parts.

I repeat... the frame is of no significance..!

The Lowry market has 'peaked'?

Some people have been told that the Lowry market has 'peaked' (in order to get them to sell their prints)...

These are usually people considering whether or not to sell their pictures;

If they were told that the Lowry market was very strong and showed no signs of slowing down.. they would probably be much less likely to part with their treasured items.

Not Restored?

This implies that the work was in poor condition, but has been renovated.

Prints 50+ years old will suffer from several problems, which is not detrimental to their value, but a natural aging..

'Time stain' is a line around the outside of the work where the mount has rested for many years; this is to be expected..
it can be easily removed by a professional conservator;
* Beware of amateurs that can ruin your work using the wrong concentration of chemicals, or not removing 'washing' the paper after the work has been completed.

'Foxing' are minute particles of iron in the paper that rust and show as brown marks across the paper;
These can be treated and leaving the print, clean and fresh.

'Fading'.. this is where the sunlight (UV light) has removed the colour from the print..
This cannot be rectified, and it is essential to purchase a work as near as possible to its original colours.
Some titles are very much more susceptible to fading than others.
eg. Britain at Play' and 'The Level crossing , Burton-on-Trent' are notorious for fading, due to the use of poor quality inks...
I am amazed by the number of galleries and dealers who continue to offer faded copies of these works for sale at substantial amounts of money.
Undoubtedly leading to much upset years along when the customer realizes the condition of their work.

Sellotape marks
In the 1970's acid free conservation tape was not widely used, and 99% of Lowry's signed limited edition prints were suspened in their mount by sellotape
When removed, this leaves a mark on the top edge of the print, this does not affect the value.
on the contrary, a museum conservationist recently quoted.. 'it would be strange not to find these marks, as it gives a certain provenance to the work.'
They can be removed, but it is not necessary.

We have specialised in Lowry's work for over 30 years and have never seen the market as strong and bouyant as it is today.

Most of the signed prints are 50+ years old and there exists only a fraction of the edition left in good condition (many have been lost discarded, damaged, faded etc.)

A large original painting can easily sell for millions of pounds, and the signed limited editions always move alongside percentage wise.

Lowry's work is now considered amongst the most sought after of British artists.

His simple minimalistic style, appeals to all ages and perfectly suits today's modern decor.

Many large galleries and corporations are 'hoovering up' all signed limited editions by Lowry that become available, and as a consequence we have seen a sharp increase in prices.
His work looks set to be an excellent investment, and you should carefully consider before parting with your work.

Certain titles are more suscepible to fading than others...
We shall attempt to list the publishers, the titles they have produced, and how susceptible they are to fading.

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