Saturday, 6 July 2013

1942 - Agecroft Regatta

Agecroft Regatta 1942
Pencil
26.6 x 37 cm
Sold [May 2013] for £211,250 including premium
Signed and Dated 'L S Lowry 1942' (lower right)

PROVENANCE
A. E. (Ted) Frape, former Director of the Salford City Art Gallery, Manchester
With Neptune Fine Art, Derbyshire
With Halcyon Gallery, London
With Richard Green, London
Purchased from the above by the present owner in 2007
Private Collection, U.K.

LITERATURE
Mervyn Levy, Drawings of L.S. Lowry, Jupiter Books, London, 1973, pl.49 (ill.b&w)
Judith Sandling (ed.), Lowry's City A Painter and his Locale, Lowry Press, Salford, 2000, p.27 (ill.b&w)

The present lot is almost certainly the most fully realised pencil drawing by L.S. Lowry of the Agecroft Regatta; at least one other example is known to exist, along with a later and very impressive, large oil painting, The Regatta (1949)

This annual, northern sporting spectacle, between Agecroft Rowing Club and the Manchester University Boat Club occurred on the banks of the River Irwell and attracted large crowds of people. Founded in 1861 by Ishmael Lythgoe, Agecroft Rowing Club was not meant as a centre of excellence for rowing but more as a social venue for like-minded individuals who enjoyed the pastime of rowing. The boat club, built in 1935, can be seen in the upper left quadrant of the drawing with its flag flying in the breeze. 

As with other ambitious pencil drawings by Lowry depicting large groups of figures, such as Swinbury Station (sold by Bonhams for a new world auction record for a pencil drawing by the artist, £121,250, in November 2011), he employs the highly effective technique of working the figures in the immediate foreground with dark, strongly delineated pencil marks and individual expressions, whilst indicating a more tightknit gathering of people as the crowd recedes with deft, paler and more sketchy marks.

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