Piccadilly Circus by L.S. Lowry – £5m at Christie's.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

High expectations were riding on the group which was billed as "the most important group of paintings by the artist to come to auction" and, before the sale, there were some concerns that the estimates looked rather punchy.

But with the artist's following on the rise and the fact that Lowry is seen as an increasingly attractive investment opportunity, any doubts were allayed at the evening sale on November 16 as 13 pictures sold for a combined hammer total of £15.4m against predictions of £10.8m-16.2m.

The top taker was Piccadilly Circus from 1960, estimated at £4m-6m. It was one of only five or six views of London painted by Lowry. It came down to a battle between two telephone bidders and was knocked down at £5m to a private collector.

The price equalled the record sum at auction seen for The Football Match from 1949, which sold at Christie's in May.

By Alex Capon