12:29 22 December 2012
Earlier this year, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman announced his plan to sell Henry Moore’s sculpture, affectionately called “old flo” to raise £20million and reportedly boost the borough’s cash-strapped budget.
The mayor claims that the council cannot properly take care of the sculpture and that it would be best to auction it off to the highest bidder. However, his local councilors disagree. Tower Hamlets MP and local councilors say that Museum of London and a University College have offered “Old Flo” a permanent home.
Aside from disagreement among Tower Hamlets leaders, the question as to who really owns the sculpture makes the situation more complicated.
Henry Moore sold the 1.6ton bronze to the City of London County Council in 1962 for £7,500 and the sculpture was displayed on an East London council housing estate. However, in 1999, “old flo” was moved to the Yorkshire Scuplture Park.
In recent development, new evidence found suggests that the Draped Seated Woman sculpture is in fact owned by Bromley. Bromley council has formally written to Tower Hamlets council asserting ownership.
Culture Minister Ed Vaisey has also stepped in saying the dispute must be settled first before any auction can take place.
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