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Danny Boyle and Henry Moore's daughter fight to save 'Draped Seated Lady'

PUBLISHED: 11:53 05 November 2012

Henry Moore's 1957 Draped Seated Woman. Picture: Tower Hamlets Council

Henry Moore's 1957 Draped Seated Woman. Picture: Tower Hamlets Council

Tower Hamlets Council

Film director Danny Boyle has joined Henry Moore's daughter as well as leading figures from the art word and MPs to stop Tower Hamlets Council selling off the late artist's 'Draped Seated Woman' sculpture.

They signed an open letter urging Mayor Lutfur Rahman not to put the 8ft bronze artwork known as ‘Old Flo’—which could be worth up to £20 million—on the market to the highest bidder.

The Mayor makes his final decision at his cabinet meeting on Wednesday about the sale, fearing that metal thieves might try to steal the 1.5 tonne sculpture if it was returned to the East End and erected in a public place.

It has been stored at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield for the past 15 years.

“The mayor’s proposal goes against the spirit of Moore’s original sale on the understanding that it would be placed in East London,” says the letter.

“The presence of the sculpture in Stepney was a demonstration of the post-war belief that everyone, whatever their background, should have access to works of art of the highest quality.”

Film director Danny Boyle, who directed the Opening and Closing ceremony of the summer Olympics, is one of nine leading figures who have signed the letter which urges Tower Hamlets to “reconsider and find a suitable location that continues to honour Moore’s idealistic vision.”

The others signing are the artist’s daughter Mary Moore, Tate gallery director Nicholas Serota, Henry Moore Foundation director Richard Calvocoressi, Yorkshire Sculpture Park director Peter Murray, Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali, Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, artist Jeremy Deller and architect Davi Adjaye.

The issue is being raised at tomorrow’s council scrutiny committee by Opposition councillor David Snowdon.

Canary Wharf Group two years ago offered to have the artwork transported back from Yorkshire—but received no response from the council at the time.

Last month the Advertiser revealed an appeal by the Museum of London Docklands to let them display it in their secure location West India Quay.

Henry Moore sold his sculpture for a ‘knock down’ price of £6,000 to the London County Council in 1962 as a gift to the people of the East End.

It was erected outside Ewhurst tower block in Jamaica Street where it remained until the Stifford Estate was pulled down in the 1990s and was sent for “safe keeping” to Yorkshire.

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