LACKING detail and any tell-tale signs of setting, it looks like nothing more than a hurried pencil sketch of nothing in particular. Yet the scene is one of Edinburgh’s most iconic and the artist among the most acclaimed of his generation.
Now the rare drawing of the Canongate by LS Lowry is set to fetch £30,000 when it goes under the hammer next week.
The nine-inch by fourteen-inch work – called On the Canongate/Edinburgh – is dated September 1958 and was sketched by the artist at the age of 70.
Lowry produced very few Scottish works, being much better known for his paintings of his native Manchester.
He became a regular visitor to the Capital in the 1950s, attracted by the Festival, at which he would attend shows with his close friend and fellow artist Ann Hilder “because she knew people who could get tickets for everything”.
Based in Musselburgh during his stays, he would often sketch figures on the Royal Mile with Edinburgh Castle in the background.
Lowry was born in Stretford, Lancashire, in 1887. Most of his work depicts nearby Salford and Pendlebury, where he lived for 40 years. He is best known for his “matchstick men” figures on urban landscapes.
He died in 1976, aged 88. A large collection of his work is on permanent public display at a purpose-built gallery called The Lowry, on Salford Quays near Manchester.
A spokesman from auctioneer Bonhams, which will sell the drawing in London on May 30, said: “In the 1950s, Lowry visited Edinburgh with Ann Hilder, a close friend, possible god-daughter and keen artist herself. The pair visited the Festival because she knew people who could get tickets for everything.”
In June last year, a Lowry painting fetched £555,000 when it was auctioned in the Capital.
The Royal Scottish Academy sold The Hawker’s Cart, a typical Lowry street scene, to create an endowment fund to buy key works by Scottish artists.
The 1929 work sold at the city’s Lyon and Turnbull auctioneers. At the time the auction house said it was “delighted” with the result.