Lost L. S. Lowry drawings hidden in an art teacher’s folder for 60 years have been rediscovered.
The artworks were stashed among a bundle of other pictures once owned by a former teacher at the Liverpool School of Art, and after her death the assorted pieces were sold off and then kept in a cupboard for decades.
When clearing out the collection in order to salvage a picture frame, the present owner of the works noticed hidden drawings seemingly signed and dated by Lowry.
Three works, depicting a tramp, a lady visiting a country cottage, and the third is a sketch of an English landscape, have been authenticated and are set to be sold at auction for £20,000 each.
Darryl Kirk, head of marketing at Unique Auctions, said: "They have never been seen before. It is unusual to get three original undiscovered Lowry drawings come to auction at the same time."
He added: "They were produced in 1959 and 1961 which is when he was doing his industrial landscapes featuring matchstick men.”
Lancashire artist Lowry (1887 to 1976) was famed for his depictions of the industrial north, particularly around the Manchester area, and his works can command millions at auction.
The three rediscovered drawings now going up for sale were lost among a bundle of assorted drawings and prints once owned by Mary Morgan Lloyd, who died 20 years ago.
Ms Morgan Lloyd was friends with Lowry, according to Unique auctioneers, who believe she was given the drawings by the artist himself at some point in the late Fifties.
The present owner, a Lincolnshire-based art enthusiast who wishes to remain anonymous, had no idea that the bundle of pictures contained works by Lowry.
Auctioneer Mr Kirk said: "The lady bought the collection from a relative of the late Mary Morgan Lloyd in the early 2000s.
"It consisted of many paintings, prints and ephemera relating to her. She didn't realise what she had and just stored it away.
"Then several months ago she decided she wanted to re-use the frame a print was in. She took it out and there were these two small drawings with Lowry's signature on.
"She then went through the rest of the collection and found another Lowry sketch of two landscapes. She was very excited.
"Why they were there we don't know but Lowry and Mary Morgan Lloyd were friends and so it is highly likely he gave her these three drawings.
"The vendor thought there was no point keeping them, after all, she had them for 20 years without realising.
"They are fresh to the market and we hope they will attract a lot of interest."
The three drawings will be sold on October 23, and the sale comes amid renewed interest in Lowry promoted by the announcement that the Professional Footballers' Association was seeking to sell the famous piece, Going to the Match.
The mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, called on wealthy footballers to club together and buy the artwork to prevent it disappearing into a private collection. It is currently on public display at The Lowry arts centre, in Salford.