A bronze sundial by the Modernist British sculptor Henry Moore has been stolen from the Henry Moore Foundation. The sculpture is valued at up to £500,000. It disappeared from the grounds of Hoglands, the Perry Green, Hertfordshire museum between 4.30 pm on Tuesday July 10th and 11am on Wednesday July 11th. Detectives are appealing for information following the theft of the 1965 artwork. The bronze measures 56cm high. Moore designed this piece for his own pleasure and positioned in a place where he could view it from his sitting room.
A monumental version of the sundial was also produced for a Chicago lakeside installation in 1966. This small scale version was likely the maquette for the larger version.
Detective Inspector Paul Watts stated, ‘It could have been stolen to order or it could have been stolen to be melted down. ‘We are keeping an open mind.’ He added, “This Sundial sculpture is a valuable piece and we are very keen to speak to anyone who may have seen it since 4.30 pm yesterday (July 10th). If you have any information in relation to this incident, please contact police immediately on 101, or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Richard Calvocoressi, Director, The Henry Moore Foundation stated; ‘We are deeply saddened about the loss of Sundial from the gardens of Henry Moore’s former home and are helping the police in the hope it may be recovered. We take our care of Henry Moore’s sculptures extremely seriously and have installed heightened security measures here in recent years. We would be grateful if anyone with information would contact the police.’
Another well known figure was stolen from the foundation in 2005 by thieves who used a crane and a stolen truck to remove the sculpture from the grounds. It sparked a global search for the culprits. The sculpture was worth around £3m at the time, and police believe that the internationally known sculpture was cut up and melted down for around £1,500 in scrap metal. Initially the police thought the figure was stolen for its value on the art market.
Last year Christies broke the auction record for the most expensive work of British sculpture sold. The work of art, by Modernist Henry Moore depicted a reclining female figure resting, It sold for £19.1 million.
Henry Moore, who lived 1898 to 1986, is regarded as one of Britain’s most important sculptors. His work is known internationally.
He left a significant collection of about 900 sculptures and works on paper to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto as no British museum was willing to build a purpose built gallery to house the masterpieces.
There is currently a major exhibition of Henry Moore on view in London at the Gagosian Gallery. Visit Exhibition Here