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

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Conversation topics change in the glow of the camp fire compared to daily life.

Read more

US rapper Chris Brown said spending time in prison has helped change him into a better person.

Read more

Just moved into your new halls of residence? You’ll soon learn that all of these are true.

Read more

TOP Stories

17:50
The fire broke out in high rise flats in Battersea. Picture by @EreenaC.

Around 80 firefighters tackled a blaze at a high rise block of flats in Ingrave Street, Battersea this afternoon - rescuing 18 people.

18:58
Dead fish in Harrow Lodge Park lake, east London (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Mystery surrounds the death of around 1,000 fish, discovered floating in an east London park lake at the weekend.

16:50
Steve Hooper and Mary Alexander with her unusual duck-shaped potato. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

A duck-shaped potato and “bitter and twisted” runner beans were the unlikely stars of a horticultural autumn show in Highgate.

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

London Bloggers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.

Quizzes

(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more