Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ sculpture withdrawn from auction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Henry Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’ sculpture - known as ‘Old Flo’ - has been withdrawn by Tower Hamlets Council from auction in February because of a challenge over ownership, it has emerged this evening (Fri).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

Friday, June 24, 2016
The protest is marching on the Shard (Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Images)

Pro-EU protesters are planning to march to the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. where pro-Brexit tabloid The Sun is based, this evening.

Friday, June 24, 2016
As June 24 is widely hailed as Independence Day, should London go it alone?  (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

As most of the UK voted for Brexit, two significant areas voted overwhelming to remain in the Union: Scotland, and London.

Friday, June 24, 2016
Londoners are despairing at news Britain has voted to leave the EU (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

London is in a state of ‘shock’ and ‘sadness’ after Britain voted in favour of leaving the EU and David Cameron resigned. The capital found itself largely irrelevant after Vote Leave celebrated much larger wins than expected. Across 33 boroughs, 59.9% (2.26 million) voted to remain in the EU - in some areas, the remain vote was more than 70 per cent. This is what Londoners had to say...

Friday, June 24, 2016
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage speaking in London where he claimed victory for the Leave campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Britain is set to leave the EU after the Leave campaign was declared winners of this historic referendum.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
A wry sign was stuck in the window of the Methodist Central Hall polling station in Westminster as Londoners headed to the polls this morning (Picture: PA Wire)

It is EU Referendum day and the rain is pouring, but Londoners are still flocking to polling stations to ensure their voices are heard. Follow us here throughout the day for updates on exit polls and some great pictures of #dogsatpollingstations in the capital.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Double trouble (Photo: @ScrappyN)

As Britain goes to the polls to vote in the EU Referendum, so do Britain’s dogs.

Don't Miss...

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more
Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport