Salford mayor appeals to footballers and calls for export ban to save L.S Lowry painting

A mayor has called for a temporary export ban on one of Lowry's most famous paintings - while urging 'high profile footballers' to help save it.

Going To The Match, which was painted in 1953, shows a crowd gathered at Burnden Park football stadium, the former home of Bolton Wanderers on Manchester Road in Bolton, which was demolished in 1999.

It is currently owned by The Players Foundation, and has been on display at the Lowry Museum and Gallery for 22 years - it is expected to sell for up to £8 million.

High profile footballers have been approached to help save the painting Credit: Christie's Auction House

Following news of the sale Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett has called for a temporary export ban to stop it from leaving the country so the public can continue to see it.

Mayor Dennett said: “We need to do all we can to save this critically and important L.S. Lowry painting for people to access free here in Salford.

"If this work is bought by an international collector, I would urge the UK Government to place a temporary export ban on this important piece of art to prevent it leaving the country. This will allow time for the campaign to gather momentum and help to raise funds to buy it.”

The City Mayor also appealed to wealthy football clubs, players and individuals to help buy the painting.

In an open letter he warned the painting could be purchased by a private collector and moved out of the public eye, and potentially lost from our city or even our country forever.

Salford’s City Mayor continued: "A new owner may choose not to have it on display at The Lowry.

"It has been proudly on display in Salford for the past 22 years which also houses the world’s largest collection of his works.

“If our great pieces of art and culture, crucial to our social history, heritage and sporting communities can be privatised in this way, what becomes of our country - what binds it together?

“Salford City Council has always been proud of its approach to art and culture and has worked hard to retain artwork to enable the public to view and enjoy such historic pieces which captures our heritage.

"The continuing cuts and intense pressure on local authority resources have made it impossible for us to buy this iconic piece and that is why we are reaching out to influential people in the city who share our vision of providing access for all to historically important pieces of artwork such as this one.”