Henry Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’ is offered two East End homes

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:38 30 October 2012

Cllr Tim Archer and Moore's 'Draped Lady' at Yorkshire's Sculpture Park

Cllr Tim Archer and Moore's 'Draped Lady' at Yorkshire's Sculpture Park

Tim Archer

Two permanent homes have been offered for Henry Moore’s famous ‘Draped Seated Woman’ sculpture which Tower Hamlets council wants to sell off, it has emerged this week.

It would mean returning the 8ft bronze artwork to the East End and putting it on public display—if the Town Hall agrees.

Opposition Tory councillor Tim Archer now plans to challenge Mayor Lutfur Rahman not to sell this East End heritage when he raises the issue at next Tuesday’s coucil scrutiny committee.

One offer comes from the Museum of London Docklands whose director Sharon Ament has written to the mayor after reading of the threat to the sculpture in the Advertiser.

Her letter said: “I realise this is late in the day—but reading about the future of this important public sculpture has encouraged us to ask you to consider transferring it to the museum which will bring great public good.”

The sculpture, known as ‘Old Flo,’ has been languishing in parkland in Yorkshire for 15 years after Stepney’s Stifford estate where it was erected in 1962 was demolished.

It was located by Cllr Archer two years ago following his probing Member’s Question over its whereabouts.

The museum’s offer to look after ‘Old Flo’ isn’t the first. Canary Wharf Group offered to find a public and secure place in 2010 and even pay for it to be transported back from Yorkshire.

But the Town Hall didn’t take up the offer.

Cllr Archer told the Advertiser this week: “The administration has had several years to investigate options but has failed.

“The current report on its future gives no details of discussions with Canary Wharf Group in 2010 and doesn’t even examine other options, including the museum’s offer.”

The Tory group has also challenged the Mayor under the Localism Act to prevent public heritage artwork being sold off if there is an alternative.

But the Town Hall insisted it hadn’t ignored the museum’s offer. A spokesman said: “We have responded and have requested more information.”

‘Old Flo’ would be secure from vandalism or thieves who might be after her weight in bronze, the museum has assured.

“We have permanently-monitored 24-seven CCTV coverage and there are bollards in place preventing vehicle access,” the museum’s director points out in her letter.

Museum bosses have put the feelers out for ‘Old Flo’ because they believe Moore wanted her “to be enjoyed by all Londoners.”

Their spokesman added: “We would like to honour the great man’s intentions.”

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