LS Lowry’s Nelson Handball Court Towel Sketch Not Auctioning

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Nelson’s handball court sketch set to cost between £ 8,000 and £ 12,000

A sketch of Nelson’s handball court on a towel by artist LS Lowry was not auctioned.

The drawing, measuring 15cm, represents the listed building and was last auctioned in April 2016 for £ 9,000.

Signed and dated November 6, 1961, it was said to have been drawn by Lowry while he was sitting in a cafe. He would then be 77 years old.

According to notes from auctioneer Roger Jones, Lowry made several trips to the South Wales valleys during the 1960s with his friend and collector Monty Bloom – a businessman from Ebbw Vale. The trips had the effect of “reviving [Lowry’s] interest in the industrial landscape for some time, giving rise to major works such as “Bargoed” (1965) and “Hillside in Wales” (1962).

“This sketch was made during this seminal time, probably sitting in a Nelson cafe. Handball was a popular sport among workers in the South Wales valleys, leading to local rivalries and betting opportunities.


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Lowry gave the sketch of the napkin to artist friend Percy Warburton, who then passed it on to the family who auctioned it off in 2016. It was later purchased by private collector Glenn Davies who now sell it.

Auctioneers Roger Jones said the sketch did not reach the reserve price last month. He was expected to make between £ 8,000 and £ 12,000.

It was auctioned off on April 17.

The handball court is located at the corner of Shingrig Road and Station Terrace in Nelson.

Nelson’s handball court

According to Coflein, the online database of the National Monuments Record of Wales, the courtyard was built around 1860. Its design is based on the one in the courtyard of the Nelson Inn. The nearby Royal Oak pub built the largest yard to keep patrons away from their rivals Nelson Inn.

The court elevated Nelson from the district level to that of a major center of the game and helped ensure that handball enjoyed a golden period for the remainder of the century.

The sport went into decline with the rise of organized team sports. The tribunal was granted Grade II status in 1988.


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