Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ sculpture withdrawn from auction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Henry Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’ sculpture - known as ‘Old Flo’ - has been withdrawn by Tower Hamlets Council from auction in February because of a challenge over ownership, it has emerged this evening (Fri).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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The eponymous craft beer is not always brewed in the capital (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If there’s two things London foodies are obsessed with, it’s craft beer and local products, so it’s a surprise to learn that a drink that is named after London and boasts of being “the quintessential English lager” is sometimes brewed in Europe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
How should the next generation of Boris bikes look? (Photo by Steve Bardens/ Getty Images for Santander)

Santander Boris bikes as we know them could be a thing of the past after TfL issued a tender for their redesign.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
New Fathers 4 Justice campaigners altered this local council anti- domestic violence poster in Greenwich Station (Picture: New Fathers 4 Justice)

An anti-domestic violence poster has angered fathers campaign groups and today two activists were ‘removed’ by police from a south-east London train station for defacing the council missive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Paddy Power reckon it's a dead cert for Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn (Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership race is a “done deal” according to one bookmaker which has already started paying out on bets.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Computer class

New figures show, in the face of growing youth unemployment, vacancies for digital jobs is set to widen in the next year.

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.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more