Museum of London welcomes Bromley challenge
19 December 2012
Following its joint campaign with the Art Fund to save Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman – aka Old Flo - the Museum of London responded enthusiastically today to the London Borough of Bromley’s assertion that it owns the artwork.
Following its joint campaign with the Art Fund to save Bromley Council has written to Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman challenging his right to sell the much-loved sculpture. This new development follows the presentation of powerful new evidence that could stop the sale.
Bromley’s decision follows many hours of detailed archival research conducted by the museum’s specialists and others. The paper trail they uncovered shows that when the London County Council (LCC) was abolished in 1963, the ownership of Old Flo was not transferred to Tower Hamlets Council. The sculpture remained instead the property of the GLC, until the GLC’s own abolition in 1985. Old Flo, along with other former assets of the GLC were vested in the GLC’s London Residuary Body, and transferred to Bromley Council.
Museum of London Director, Sharon Ament, said:
“This is very good news indeed. We welcome Bromley’s challenge to Tower Hamlets. Not only is Bromley asserting that it owns Old Flo, it has also committed to its public display. We look forward to working with Bromley and our other campaign partners to make this happen.
“We hope very much that Old Flo will come home to the East End and the Museum of London has offered to cover all the costs, including transport, conservation, security and insurance. We welcome any initiative to retain this precious artwork in public ownership.”
This announcement follows the opening of Henry Moore and the East End at the Museum of London Docklands earlier in the month. This new display provides a historical perspective to Old Flo and a fascinating glimpse into the East End of the 1960s. It includes a series of maquettes, or scale models, created by Moore to help him visualise and test the artwork concept. Old Flo herself remains, for the time-being at least, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Sharon Ament and her team have been working closely with Rushanara Ali, the Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Ali describes the sale of Old Flo as “a betrayal of the East End’s working class heritage”. The museum added its name to the MP’s growing public petition against the sale.