Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ sculpture withdrawn from auction

19:21 21 December 2012

Henry Moore

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

Henry Moore Trust

Henry Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’ sculpture - known as ‘Old Flo’ - has been withdrawn by Tower Hamlets Council from auction in February because of a challenge over ownership, it has emerged this evening (Fri).

Lawyers for the Arts Fund charity had asked Christie’s to withdraw it because Bromley Council now claims it owns the artwork that Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman wants to sell off.

The challenge from Bromley came after the Museum of London followed a paper trail tracing the sculpture back to the 1960s when Moore sold it at cost price to the-then London County Council and waived consultation and transport fees to have it put up on Stepney’s Stifford Estate.

It was not transferred to the new Tower Hamlets authority when the LCC or its successor GLC were abolished, says the museum, but remained an asset of the London Residuary Body, then later transferred to Bromley as custodians.

Bromley Council leader Stephen Carr said: “The idea that selling this national treasure will somehow tackle Tower Hamlets’ financial situation is flawed—the money would not protect frontline services very long.”

Tower Hamlets Mayor Rahman today denied Bromley’s claim, citing “many examples” of artwork transferred without being expressly named.

He said: “This move is an insult to the East End. If Bromley owned it, why have they stayed silent for 27 years?”

The statue was an amenity, he insists, so “under law was automatically transferred” with the estate.

Lawyers are being briefed on both sides, including a top QC hired by Tower Hamlets council, ready for any possible High Court battle in the New Year.

Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali raised the controversy in the Commons on Monday in a bid to block the sell-off, citing it as “a betrayal of the East End’s working class.”

The Museum of London Docklands has offered to pay for security, insurance and transporting Old Flo back from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where it has been stored for 15 years to be exhibited at Canary Wharf.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Lord Sewel resigns from the House of Lords (Picture: PA Images)

Lord Sewel has quit the House of Lords after video footage emerged of him allegedly taking cocaine with two prostitutes in his London flat, even snorting a line off one woman’s breasts.

Friday, July 24, 2015
Commons Speaker John Bercow spent nearly £400 on a chauffeur-driven journey to speak about restoring reputation after the expenses scandal (Picture: PA Images)

Commons Speaker John Bercow took a chauffeur-driven car to a conference 0.7 miles from Parliament which cost the taxpayer a staggering £172.

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Fleet Primary School. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A counter-terrorism agency has intervened at a Hampstead primary school where a child was deemed at risk of being drawn into Islamic extremism.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
New late-night club licences will be harder to get under Hackney Council's plans (Picture: Dalston Superstore)

Plans by Hackney Council to curtail late night licences in the popular clubbing spots of Shoreditch and Dalston will threaten the area’s “star power”, according to campaigners fighting the proposals.

Monday, June 29, 2015
Protesters at an earlier anti-austerity demo in Berlin in March (Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Owen Jones, Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn and Green MP Caroline Lucas are all at a rally in Trafalgar Square to show solidarity with Greece this evening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Police clashed with disabled protesters in the lobby of the House of Commons (Photo: Debbie Jolly/PA Wire)

Police have been accused of “heavy handed tactics” as they blocked disabled protesters, many in wheelchairs, from entering the House of Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions today.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

You could be zooming around a track of your choice!

Are you a competitive adrenaline junkie with a need for speed? Or looking for a fun family day out?

Read more
Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more