The Court of Appeal has upheld its decision last year that the £20 million bronze sculpture Draped Seated Woman, or ‘Old Flo’ as its known by locals, by Henry Moore, belongs to the borough of Tower Hamlets. The sculpture was originally bought by London County Council for £6,000 in 1962. It was placed at the Stifford Estate in east London until the estate was demolished in 1997, which is when the sculpture was moved to the Yorkshire Sculpture park for safe-keeping.
The dispute started when Lutfur Rahman, the former mayor of Tower Hamlets proposed the statue for auction in February 2013. But its consignment roused protests from director Danny Boyle, Henry Moore’s daughter Mary Moore, the Henry Moore Foundation, the Tate, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where it still currently resides after the auction was postponed due to evidence that the sculpture might’ve been owned by the Borough of Bromley.
Last July the High Court in London ruled that Moore’s sculpture was in fact owned by Tower Hamlets, a decision that was appeal by Bromley Council. However the Court of Appeal rejected their claim to ‘Old Flo’ and now Tower Hamlets must find a suitable resting place for her.
The Museum of London Docklands and the Canary Wharf estate, which has a strong security presence, have been mentioned as potential suitable sites.
“We need to find a location that’s safe where people can see it. It depends on getting the right insurance. We need to do it thoughtfully, rather than rapidly—because there’s a history of these things being spirited away in the dead of night and melted down,” the local mayor John Biggs told the East London Advertiser.
Hopes are that the sculpture will return to London before the end of the year.