Moore No More

Gregor asks the not-unreasonable question:

“Now that there’s a Henry Moore retrospective on at the Tate, Greenwich’s own empty plinth feels a little emptier. Does anyone have any idea whether the Henry Moore foundation will ever return the statue to the park?”

The Phantom replies:

You know – even the mighty Today Programme had a feature on this this morning, Gregor. It would seem that the Henry Moore Foundation has got such a bee in its bonnet about it that it’s taken it away ‘for safekeeping’ i.e. so no one ever gets to see it again.

Apparently the insurance cost became prohibitive – but I don’t really get why – I mean the park is locked at night, the thing must weigh a ton – who’s going to steal it? Besides – how can you insure something like that? It’s not like it could be replaced.

I don’t know when it’s coming back, but it’s the place Moore himself chose for the sculpture – and the plinth looks pretty damn silly without it.

Maybe we should be using the Olympic Panacea to get it back.

11 Comments to “Moore No More”

  1. methers says:

    Alas, this sort of thing does get nicked, although damage (by graffiti etc.) is more likely than theft in this case I would say.

  2. scared of chives says:

    They had better remove the giant sundial then…and the ship weathervane on top of the Old Royal Observatory…and that bit of Roman mosiac road…and…Queen Elizabeth's oak…and..

    Believe me, I've had first-hand experience of climbing into the park after dark (it was a long time ago and I'd had about 15 pints) – the dog(s) come out, the torches search…no one is gonna nick anything

  3. Deptford dame says:

    Will the Henry Moore Foundation be taking back all the other public art for safekeeping (eg Brandon Estate, Battersea Park, Parliament Square etc etc to name just a few of the London ones..?). Sounds like a silly made-up reason to me.

  4. NicksPhotos says:

    I don't see how this is any different from the lovely Barbera Hepworth in Dulwich park, that's got to be of comparable value and it's in perfect condition. There are rare cases of people stealing public art, although it's going to be pretty difficult to steal i the first place and incredibly difficult to sell, especially for such a high profile artist.

  5. StoneMuse says:

    Does the Foundation have any ulterior motives here? Will be interesting to see if the sculpture ends up elsewhere within the next few months.

    To the best of my recollection, Henry Moore actually wanted the sculpture to remain in Greenwich Park so the Foundation are going against his original request … which does not seem right to me.

  6. NicksPhotos says:

    Looking at the foundation itself it seems entirely to go against the founding principals of the foundation.

    "The Henry Moore Foundation is a registered charity, founded by the artist in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts"

    I find it really sad when great works of art of all kinds are mothballed away from the public gaze, that just makes them a commoddity rather than something compelling.

  7. Mary says:

    I ought to know more about this than I do – but two things – one is that a park somewhere in the north had a lot of Henry Moore's stolen by scrap dealers.
    The other thing is that apparently Henry Moore's will says something about no reproductions to be made and no broken sculptures to be mended -so they can't just make a replica if it is taken.
    There has been quite a bit of discussion on this, but I can't remember the details

  8. Benedict says:

    I was under the impression that it just went out on loan for his retrospective exhibit at Kew 18 months ago. I know it has long since finished there but is the exhibition travelling worldwide?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Alas, there are some dreadful scrap metal thievings at the moment (listed buildings'roofs, war memorial
    plaques, coal hole covers(opercula), and the like) so perhaps any pressure to get the HM back to its rightful plinth should wait until
    scrap metal prices have dropped again.

  10. Deptford dame says:

    It's in the middle of a park with gates that are locked at night ffs. No-one could get a lorry and hoist in there without being noticed.

  11. Jon GS says:

    I just emailed the Henry Moore Foundation this morning. Simples..

    Dear Jon,

    Many thanks for your email and the interest in the Henry Moore sculpture previously situated in South East London.

    I am sorry but there are no plans for us to move the sculpture to Greenwich Park in the near future. As there are many demands for loans from the Foundation's collection we do try to place sculptures so that they can be seen by as wide an audience as possible. It was moved for the exhibition in Kew Gardens and it is currently in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where it can be viewed by people living in that part of the country.

    However, there is another cast of this work at The Foundation in Perry Green which is open to the public this year between 30 March and 30 September; we would be delighted to welcome you here during the spring and summer.

    Best wishes.

    Pru Maxfield
    PA to Head of Collections and Exhibitions

    The Henry Moore

    Perry Green
    Much Hadham
    SG10 6EE
    t. +44 (0)1279 843 333
    f. +44 (0)1279 843 647