Councils in dispute over Henry Moore sculpture ownership

09:28 20 December 2012

Henry Moore

Henry Moore's 'Old Flo' erected in Stepney in 1962. Picture: Henry Moore Trust

Henry Moore Trust

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman has been challenged over who owns the Henry Moore ‘Draped Seated Woman’ sculpture known as ‘Old Flo’ which he wants to sell in the New Year.

Bromley Council has written to Tower Hamlets over his bid to auction off the sculpture—while Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali has raised the controversy in the Commons in a bid to block the sell-off.

The challenge comes after Museum of London bosses followed a paper trail back to the 1960s when Moore created the sculpture at cost price for the then London County Council and waived consultation and transport fees to have it put up as a gift to the East End on Stepney’s Stifford Estate.

Old Flo was not transferred to Tower Hamlets when the LCC was abolished in 1965, but instead remained the property of the new GLC until its own abolition in 1986 when all assets passed to the London Residuary Body.

The sculpture was then transferred to Bromley, the museum found.

“This is very good news indeed,” said museum director Sharon Ament. “We welcome Bromley’s challenge to Tower Hamlets.

“Bromley has committed to Moore’s statue being on public display. We hope that ‘Old Flo’ will come home to the East End.”

The museum has offered to cover costs of conservation, security, insurance and transporting it back from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where it has been stored for 15 years, to be displayed at its Docklands site at Canary Wharf.

But Tower Hamlets denies that Bromley Council has any right to the asset. The 1962 minutes of the LCC authorised the purchase of the statue “to be sited in Stifford Estate” where it remained until the estate was demolished.

The estate transferred to Tower Hamlets, the council points out.

MP Rushanara Ali raised the issue in the Commons yesterday when she asked the government to stop the “fire sale”—describing it as “a betrayal of the East End’s working class heritage.”

Mayor Rahman wants Old Flo under the auctioneer’s hammer at Christie’s in February.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Can Google search trends predict a closer result than the polls? (Archant)

Who will win the London Mayoral election 2016? The polls are predicting Labour candidate Sadiq Khan but the polls aren’t always right - in fact they were very, very wrong in last year’s General Election.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
London's Air Ambulance landed in the middle of Parliament Square to help the man (Picture: Martin Paige)

London’s Air Ambulance landed in Parliament Square this lunchtime to help rush a man to hospital after he fell from Westminster Bridge.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
The vandalised windows of the Cereal Killer Cafe after the September F*** Parade (Photo: Cereal Killer Cafe)

Riot police have arrived at F*** Parade, the anti-gentrification protest that caused damage in Brick Lane in September, but as of 8.54pm there were no arrests.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner from the Movement for Reform Judaism has said she doesn't think MP Naz Shah is anti-Semtiic

Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner welcomed Naz Shah into her home last week for an interfaith feast for Passover - and this morning said that she would like to take the suspended Labour MP to Israel.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Should Ken hoist his rucksack on his shoulders and walk on out? (Picture: PA Images)

Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, has been suspended from the Labour party after he made comments about Hitler, Zionism and ‘the Israel lobby’ on the radio this morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
The Evening Standard publishs around 900,000 copies a day in the capital  (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The Evening Standard’s London mayoral coverage is “consistently and overwhelmingly” biased in favour of Zac Goldsmith, giving him both more and more positive coverage than his Labour rival Sadiq Khan, according to a study by Goldsmiths University academics.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more
Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport