Battle over Moore sculpture

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A HENRY Moore sculpture that has been housed at one of Wakefield’s main tourist attractions for that past 15 years could be about to be sold overseas to help the cash-strapped council that owns it.

But Wakefield MP, Mary Creagh, has joined the fight to help keep ‘Draped Seated Woman,’ fondly known as ‘Old Flo,’ in the UK.

The 8ft bronze masterpiece has been at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park since it was lent for restoration in 1997.

Its owner, Tower Hamlets Council, which has to make £100m worth of cuts in three years, will decide later this week whether it will sell the work or not.

Crafted in the 50s, Old Flo was erected on Stepney’s Stifford Estate in the East End of London in the 1962, where it suffered at the hands of vandals.

It could fetch anywhere in the region of up to £20m if sold.

Ms Creagh said she understood the financial pressures the council was facing, but would work with Labour colleagues in London to make sure it was not sold abroad.

She said: “This sculpture was bought in the post-war period for working class people in London’s East End to enjoy.”

“We want to be true to Henry Moore’s original vision and get the sculpture back to Tower Hamlets where everybody can enjoy it.”

Tower Hamlets Scrutiny Committee will vote on the proposed sale on Tuesday. The vote will be followed by a final mayoral decision on Wednesday.