Court of Appeal confirms £17m Henry Moore sculpture belongs to Tower Hamlets

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets is the legal owner of a £17 million Henry Moore sculpture, ‘Draped Seated Women’, affectionately known as ‘Old Flo’.

At a hearing on 19 May, the Court of Appeal rejected an application for permission to appeal by the London Borough of Bromley.

We last covered this case in July 2015, when the High Court determined ownership of the piece – you can read the background to the case here and the judgment here.

Old Flo currently resides in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where she has been for the past two decades. Following the Court of Appeal decision, Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said that “I’m keen to have the sculpture brought back to the East End and put on public display.”

The Mayor has reportedly set up a special working group to search out a suitable location and get the one-and-a-half tonne work of art transported back to London. He told the East London Advertiser at an earlier media briefing: “We need to find a location that’s safe where people can see it, where it’s not going to get nicked and melted down because it’s worth a lot of money.

“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.”

He added: “This sculpture belongs to the people of east London, so we have a duty to look after it somewhere that’s safe.”

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