Tower Hamlets Council has been declared the legal owner of the Henry Moore sculpture Draped Seated Woman at the High Court.
The council had been involved in a lengthy ownership debate with Bromley Council, who claimed rights to the sculpture in 2012.
Responding to the news, Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “I am delighted Tower Hamlets has been confirmed as the owner of ‘Old Flo’.
“I want to reiterate my intention to reverse the previous mayor’s decision to sell Henry Moore’s sculpture, Draped Seated Woman.”
The sculpture currently sits in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but Mr Biggs suggested it may return to east London, saying: “I believe that it belongs to the people of east London and should be available locally for public enjoyment.”
In 1957 Henry Moore, reflecting on his wartime experiences of the London Blitz and his war artist drawings, created a sculpture which became known as “Draped Seated Woman”. It is a large bronze figure weighing 1,500 KGs sitting upon a stepped plinth, its left arm resting upon the upper level.
On 15 September 1962, “Old Flo” – the name given to the sculpture by local people – was purchased by the London County Council and then placed near three tower blocks on the recently constructed Stifford Estate in Stepney.
The three tower blocks were regarded as a prime example of modern architecture, and were visited by Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in July 1962.
Mr Justice Norris said: “The Henry Moore sculpture Draped Seated Woman now belongs to Tower Hamlets.”