Henry Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’ – affectionately nicknamed ‘Old Flo’ by residents of the Stifford Estate in Stepney, where she was located from 1962 to 1997 – is on view in Cabot Square until 2022, on loan to Canary Wharf Group from London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The sculpture returned to the East End in October 2017, after spending 20 years at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The bronze sculpture was created in 1957/58 by Moore, arguably Britain’s most important modern sculptor, as an edition of six plus an Artist’s Proof. This cast was originally acquired by London County Council as part of the LCC’s Patronage of the Arts Scheme to site works of art in housing estates and other public spaces, for the enjoyment of the local population. The sculpture was located on the LCC’s newly built Stifford Estate in 1962, remaining there until 1997, soon after which the estate was demolished. Since then the sculpture stayed in Yorkshire, overlooking the landscape and enjoyed by the Sculpture Park’s many visitors.
Following Mayor John Biggs’ pledge to bring ‘Old Flo’ back to the borough, Tower Hamlets Council, judged to be the rightful owners of the sculpture, ran an open bidding process and Canary Wharf Group was successful in providing a new home for this monumental work of art for the next 5 years. The location for the sculpture is Cabot Square, overlooking Middle Dock and accessible to all who pass by.
A programme of celebrations, education and outreach will be rolled out while Old Flo is at Canary Wharf. Anyone who would like to receive updates on these activities is invited to contact Canary Wharf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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