A PAINTING sold for a staggering £81,000 could put Maryport on the map.

The LS Lowry painting The Old Quay had been valued at between £40,000 and £60,000 but sold for an eye-watering £81,000 at a Bonham’s auction last week.

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

It is one of about half a dozen scenes Lowry painted in Maryport according to local art enthusiast Dolly Daniel.

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.

Mrs Daniel said, while it is a shame the painting did not come to Maryport, she believes it could raise the profile of the town considerably.

Mrs Daniel has headed a team that has run several successful exhibitions in the Maryport Settlement and is now looking at what might be done to promote the Lowry links.

“Everything is obviously at an early stage but one idea was getting schoolchildren involved again, as we have in every project we have done,” she said.

“I thought they could do some research and come up with a Lowry trail – showing all the places he visited and painted.”

The town already has a Percy Kelly trail published by Cockermouth Kelly expert Chris Wadworth. Mrs Daniel said she would also love to organise a Lowry exhibition.

“If we could get some of his works on loan that would be fantastic,” she added. “If not, we could still have prints of his works and boards telling about the man and about his visits to Maryport.”

Mayor Peter Kendall said he was delighted that the sale of the painting has “put Maryport on the map.”