SCHOOLS across Cambridgeshire will benefit from over £400,000 proceeds of the county council s sale of an L S Lowry original painting that it bought for 30 guineas (£31.50) in 1945. The signed oil painting of the Market Place in Berwick-upon-Tweed was sol

SCHOOLS across Cambridgeshire will benefit from over £400,000 proceeds of the county council's sale of an L S Lowry original painting that it bought for 30 guineas (£31.50) in 1945.

The signed oil painting of the Market Place in Berwick-upon-Tweed was sold for £450,000 at Christie's, in London, yesterday (Thursday). On top of that the unnamed buyer will have to pay the auction house a 20 per cent buyer's premium. The council pays five cent.

Christie's said the classic work had been acquired directly from Lowry's agent, the Lefevre Gallery, London, in 1945 by Henry Morris, chief education officer of Cambridgeshire County Council. It was offered for sale by the council's Cambridgeshire Schools' Art Collection to raise funds to safeguard the cultural programme.

Rachel Hidderley, Christie's international specialist and director of 20th century British art, said: "This is a wonderful example of a top quality work by one of the 20th century's most popular artists. The painting is a classic street scene by L S Lowry, painted during the golden middle years of his career, and depicts the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, just before the Second World War

"The picture has a joyful appeal, showing a bright and bustling street with Lowry figures going about their daily business. With its unbroken primary source provenance, and excellent original condition, this is a highly desirable work of art."

Councillor David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet member for learning, added: "The painting was a shrewd investment by Henry Morris on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council more than 60 years ago, and we believed the time was right to sell it.

"All the money raised will go to support the cultural experiences of children and young people."

For the past few years the painting has been on loan to an exhibition of Lowry works in Salford, where the artist lived for 40 years.