Paintings and drawings by L S Lowry dominated last week’s sales of Modern British art. Of the 485 lots offered, only 33 were by Lowry, but they contributed precisely half of the total £40 million generated by the sales. As whispers begin to circulate that Tate Britain is finally to give Lowry the exhibition he so richly deserves, 14 works from the collection of the late Lord Forte at Christie’s sold for more than £18 million, with a painting of Piccadilly Circus equalling the record for Lowry at £5.6 million. Forte bought most of his Lowrys in the 1960s and 1970s, but added this to his collection in 1983 when the swashbuckling art dealer Roy Miles persuaded him he should have it because he had launched his first “milk bar” within a stone’s throw in Regent Street. Lord Forte, as he became in 1982, also owned the Café Royale in Regent Street, and the Criterion building and Lillywhite’s, from where Lowry’s view may have been painted. Drawings by Henry Moore were among the most sought-after at the sales. At Sotheby’s, a 1948 drawing of figures in a modernist architectural setting incorporated references to the architecture of F R S Yorke, who gave Moore his first large architectural commission and was the drawing’s first owner, and the figures in Moore’s seminal Three Standing Figures bronze, made for Battersea Park in 1947. After spirited bidding by sculpture dealer Daniel Katz, it was bought by the Henry Moore Foundation well above estimate for £481,250. The foundation plans to exhibit the drawing next year alongside a maquette for the Battersea sculpture. At Bonhams the next day, a new record for a Moore drawing was set when Richard Green bought a wartime drawing of a seated mother and child taking shelter in the London Underground for £634,250, again far above the estimate. Eleven paintings were offered at Christie’s last week by Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency to recoup some of the estimated €600 million debt incurred by former tax inspector and property investor Derek Quinlan. Quinlan is probably best known for heading a syndicate that bought the Savoy group of hotels in London in 2004 for £750 million. Following the collapse of the “Celtic Tiger” property boom, he was one of many investors who ran into trouble. Two weeks ago in New York, Christie’s sold two works formerly owned by Quinlan, including a small Andy Warhol dollar sign, for £505,000. In London, a further seven paintings were sold for just over £1.1 million. A painting suitably entitled Man Doing Accounts by Jack Butler Yeats, which Quinlan had bought at Christie’s in 2007 for £300,000, sold for £183,650. A better return was probably had for a colourful Ivon Hitchens landscape, which Quinlan bought off Richard Green after it had sold at auction in 2004 for £59,000.