Boris calls for rethink over Moore’s ‘Draped Seated Woman’

Boris Johnson has urged Tower Hamlets to reconsider the sale of a Henry Moore statue, Draped Seated Woman, which the council says it can no longer afford to keep.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman says he has “a duty to ensure residents do not suffer the brunt of the horrendous cuts being imposed on us” and has approved the sale “to release much needed funds to invest in local heritage projects we can sustain, affordable housing, improving opportunities and prospects for our young people”.

The decision to sell the statue has been criticised by leading arts figures including Director Danny Boyle.

Now the Mayor of London has added to calls for a rethink, saying: “The decision to sell this iconic work by a key British artist is extremely disappointing.

“Whilst I appreciate that the council needs to find ways to deal with the prevailing economic climate, I believe more could be done to enable Draped Seated Woman to remain in East London.”

Despite seeking to make cuts, the Borough has agreed to contribute £2m for the expansion of Mayor Johnson’s flagship but loss-making Cycle Hire scheme into the borough.

City Hall has not said whether the Mayor will return the money as part of efforts to safeguard the statue’s future.