Cilla Black’s fine art collection to go under the hammer

Three paintings by L.S. Lowry which were owned by singer and television presenter Cilla Black are due to go under the hammer.

The artworks are expected to collect a total of more than £500,000 when they are auctioned by Sotheby’s in a sale of Modern and Post-War British Art.

File photo of Cilla Black
(Carmen Valino/PA)


The 1938 painting Family Group is expected to collect upwards of £300,000, while the Black Church, from 1964, is estimated to fetch more than £120,000 and The Spire from 1949 could take between £100,000 and £150,000.

Black, who died in Spain on August 1, 2015, was a fan of Lowry’s work because he painted a world she was familiar with growing up in Liverpool.

Family Group (L.S.Lowry/Sothebys)

Family Group (L.S.Lowry/Sothebys)


Black’s sons Ben, Robert and Jack Willis said their mother was introduced to Lowry by her manager Brian Epstein.

They said: “Mum and dad bought art that they loved and that they could relate to, and since L.S. Lowry painted the world that our mother grew up in there was very much a personal connection to each of these particular paintings.

The Black Church

The Black Church (L.S.Lowry/Sothebys)


“It was Brian Epstein who first introduced them to buying art when they were able to afford to, and he introduced them to a number of artists who were prominent at the time. Dad had a good eye for seeking out great works, and mum wanted to feel a connection to the works on a personal level and Lowry was an artist they were both drawn to.

They added: “Each of the Lowry paintings they bought depict day-to-day scenes and family life, and mum and dad lived with them accordingly, hanging them in our family home in pride of place in the living room where we spent the most time together.

“The third Lowry they bought, The Black Church, was actually a surprise for mum that dad bought for her 50th birthday – by then he knew which particular works by the artist would appeal to her and the ‘Black’ in the title had additional resonance.”

The Spire

The Spire (L.S.Lowry/Sothebys)


Sotheby’s specialist Simon Hucker said: “For many it may come as a surprise that Cilla owned and cherished works by Lowry, but then why wouldn’t she? Lowry painted the world that she grew up in: the tightly packed terraces and backstreets of the cities of the industrial North.

“His work records and celebrated the working-class culture that gave Cilla her identity and which she never wanted to lose despite becoming a national celebrity. Lowry’s paintings are accessible, but they’re also complex, resonant with a poetry that anyone born in the north of England in the war years would have understood.”

The paintings will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on June 13.

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