Tower Hamlets council agree to sell Moore sculpture

By Beth Allcock on October 5, 2012 10:47 AM |

CS29641734draped_seated_wo.jpg

Councillors in Tower Hamlets have agreed to explore options to sell the borough's Henry Moore Sculpture.

Members of the Cabinet made the decision to sell off the multi-million pound Draped Seated Woman, affectionately known as Old Flo, which is currently on-loan to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

It may now be offered up for auction at Christies as soon as February next year.

Old Flo was bought by London County Council in 1962 for £6,000 and installed in the Stifford Estate but, following its demolition, she was loaned to the Yorkshire venue to prevent vandalism or theft.

Ahead of the meeting, Mayor Rahman said the council was faced with a "stark choice".

He said: "Do we keep this valuable sculpture in Yorkshire or do we try to sell this globally important artwork in order to release much-needed funds to invest in local heritage projects we can sustain, affordable housing, improving opportunities and prospects for our young people and keeping our community safe?

"If returning the sculpture to this borough is not a realistic value for money option we need to give serious consideration to selling the artwork."

But opposition councillors for the Labour Party slammed the proposed sell-off as revealing the "dire state" of council finances.

Cllr Carlo Gibbs, Labour's spokesperson for resources, said: "Desperately selling off everything just to pay the bills is yet another quick fix, when what the residents deserve is a Mayor that will put the councils finances back in order in the long term."

Cllr Peter Golds, leader of the Conservative Group, expressed the body's disgust about the lack of investigation into moving Old Flo to Canary Wharf.

"This was gifted to the East End by the former LCC and it will be sad if it is sold and lost to not only Tower Hamlets but the country, as I suspect some sort of person who could pay £18million for a Henry Moore is hardly likely to display it to the public.

"There has been no consultation on this - just a snatch and grab, by an administration that values self-promotion rather than heritage."

The decision was made yesterday evening, Wednesday, after The Wharf had gone to press.

See next week's edition and wharf.co.uk for updates.

4 Comments

What have we whored this scultpure for, exactly? said:

Hang your heads in shame Canary Wharf banks.
This sculpture was gifted to the East End for a reason. They could easily group together to finance the cost of bringing it back to the East London. If it were in Canary Wharf and on a pedestal, it could be watched by cctv 24hrs a day. So the urban myth about Canary Wharf perpetuates. They say that Canary Wharf is sterile and without a beating heart and I suppose it must be true. The banking community are philistines and they think that the rest are just 'plebs' who have no cultural appreciation anyway.
If the finances were being managed efficiently, there wouldn't be any need to sell the East End's 'family silver'. Get a grip on those people who are not contributing to society (with the exception of the old, ill and disabled)and get the welfare state under control and look at what the council are actually spending our monies on. Residents need to demand better accounts from Tower Hamlets Council.

Anonymous said:

Nah, flog it. Its ugly

What a thicko said:

'Nah',your comment says all we need to know about your education, Anonymous! Are you an estate agent?

IslandDweller said:

Actually, the Canary Wharf Group did offer to put this statue on display and to cover the insurance costs. But for reasons which I've never seen explained the council won't take up that offer.

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