Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture known as “Old Flo” is finally on her way home to Tower Hamlets .
The £20million artwork was gifted to the borough by the artist but for the last 20 years has sat 200 miles away in a Yorkshire sculpture park.
And she was almost lost for good when the council planned to sell her off to raise funds.
Leading figures from the art world vehemently opposed the move and Bromley Council then intervened, claiming it owned the 1.6-tonne figure, officially known as Draped Seated Woman. It’s argument was later rejected by the High Court.
But Tower Hamlets still struggled to bring her home because of security costs to ensure she would not be stolen.
Canary Wharf Group has now won the contract to give Flo a home and she is set to take up residence in Cabot Square.
The estate was one of three organisations that pitched for the chance to become her caretaker and was chosen by Henry Moore experts and will look after her for half a decade.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said he was delighted to have kept his 2015 promise to return her home.
He said: “Old Flo is an important part of the borough’s cultural heritage, that’s why we took the decision to cancel the previous mayor’s sell off and are returning her to her rightful place in the borough.
“While I would have loved to see Old Flo returned to her old home in Stepney her considerable value means we’ve had to find her a safe and secure home for her for the next five years. My hope is after that she can move even closer into our community, possibly at the new Civic Centre in Whitechapel when it is complete.
“In the meantime Canary Wharf will be a great and accessible home.”
Flo was created by Moore in 1957-58 and inspired by figures he saw huddled in air raid shelters during the Second World War.
She is due to arrive in Canary Wharf in October with her new home no more 20 minutes away for all residents in the borough and Canary Wharf Group promising to provide information about the sculpture and her original home on the Stifford Estate to visitors.
She will remain in Cabot Square for five years before the contract is reviewed.
Canary Wharf Group chairman and CEO Sir George Iacobescu said: “It is a huge responsibility to be chosen as the location for Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman on her return to Tower Hamlets.
“We are honoured to have been asked to look after this well-loved art work on behalf of the people of the borough.”
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