A STAGGERING amount has been paid for a painting of Maryport after it was put up for auction.

The famous painting The Old Quay, Maryport, by LS Lowry was given an estimate of between £40,000 and £60,000 and it smashed the high-end estimate, selling for an eye-watering £81,000.

The popular painting went under the hammer at Bonhams last week.

Painted in 1956, The Old Quay, Maryport, depicts the 19th century Christ Church which sits on the town’s quayside.

LS Lowry visited Cumbria on numerous occasions, often staying with his friend the collector Geoffrey Bennett.

Mr Bennett was ordinated into the Anglican Church in 1962, following which Lowry would address him as the ‘Reverend Gentleman’, and when the artist died in 1976 Mr Bennett conducted Lowry’s funeral service.

Pleased that the painting has helped put Maryport on the map, town mayor Peter Kendall said: “ I’m amazed – I wish I had had the foresight to have bought one back in the day and kept it for Maryport.

“It is absolutely wonderful.

“The sad thing I really do find is for many painters their work is not appreciated sadly until they after they die.

“[Lowry] was a guy who made simple life choices.

“I think he would be quite humbled by getting to the sale price of such a phenomenal amount.”

Proud to own a reprint of Lowry’s work, Mr Kendall added: “I have actually got a reproduction of the factory getting out in Manchester and I’m fond of it – I have had that for more than 50 years.

“I think it is very important for Maryport he spent a lot of time here. It puts us on the map.

“Well done to him and I think we should cherish his memory.”