A WORK of art by one of Britain’s best-known sculptors, which has been a feature of the Dumfriesshire landscape for more than half a century, has been stolen.
The late Henry Moore’s Standing Figure, which he created in 1950, was installed as part of a sculpture park on Glenkiln Hill, near Shawhead.
The robbery is the latest in a spate of thefts of his works over the past few years.
The attraction was developed by the Glenkiln Reservoir, on the Lincluen Estate, between 1951 and 1976 by local land-owner Sir William Keswick.
Moore was said to believe that Sir William was the first person to understand the power of the sculptor’s work in an outdoor setting. Standing Figure was one of four works by Moore around the Glenkiln Sculpture Park.
Police Scotland said the sculpture, which stands about 7ft tall, had gone missing some time between 10 and 11 Oct-ober. The spokesman added: “Police are appealing for any persons that have observed any suspicious activity or vehicles in the Glenkiln Reservoir area on these dates.”
Other works in the sculpture park include Saint John the Baptist by Auguste Rodin and Visitation by Sir Jacob Epstein.
The missing work of art, believed to be worth at least £100,000, is the latest in a series of Moore sculptures to be hit by thieves over the past few years.
Two men were jailed last December for the theft of the Moore’s Sundial 1965 from the grounds of the charitable trust in Hertfordshire set up at the former home of the artist, who died in 1986.
The distinctive bronze artwork – valued at around half a million pounds – had been sold for scrap metal and was only found after a televised appeal for information on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme.
In 2010, Moore’s painting Three Reclining Figures On Pedestals was one of three works of art worth a combined £230,000 stolen from
a gallery in Broadway, Worcestershire.
The theft of a two-tonne piece called Reclining Figure in
December 2005 from the grounds of his old home at Perry Green, in Hertfordshire, has never been solved. A reward of £100,000 is still on offer for the return of the work, believed to have been insured for more than £3 million.
Moore had said of the location Sir William chose for the Standing Figure piece: “I don’t know whether he got the idea to put sculpture on his sheep farm after he saw my Battersea Park open-air exhibition, or whether he was inspired by his experiences in China, where he had lived for many years, and where, he said, there are many examples of monumental sculptures in the open air.
“In any case, he bought this piece to put on his farm in Scotland … He placed the sculpture himself on an existing outcrop of rock. Later I went up there and was thrilled with the beautiful landscape.”
The Henry Moore Foundation, which carried out a detailed security review following the 2005 theft, was established by the artist in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts.
Moore, son of a Yorkshire miner, was born in 1898. He trained at Leeds School of Art, won a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in London, and went on to become arguably the UK’s greatest 20th century sculptor.