Bill Clark, who started collecting art in the mid-1990s, opened his Cheshire gallery in 1999, 10 years after selling his business Network Pest Control Systems. In the show’s catalogue he writes: “I’d always dreamed of owning an original LS Lowry painting but never thought I’d be able to afford one. However, once I’d sold my business, I had funds available.” He bought the 1952 painting The Cricket Match, which he sold on within months for twice the price.
Of the more than 100 drawings and paintings at the show, which runs until October 20, 13 are by LS Lowry. Several works come from the artist’s estate, such as the extensively-exhibited Standing Girl in High Heels (c.1956) while the 1952 oil on board The Ferry Boat at Knott End (1952), one of his popular matchstick men landscapes, is among the highlights, priced in excess of £200,000.
The gallery has long specialised in works by a wide range of Northern School artists. Clark represented John Thompson (1924-2011), who specialised in scenes of flat-capped figures.
He has also sold works by Adolphe Valette (1876-1942), the French-born painter of the UK Midlands countryside, Wigan artist Theodor Major (1908-99), and Trevor Grimshaw (1947-2001) who depicted the Northern industrial landscape in moody monochrome. All are represented in the show with a catalogue available both online and in print.