Who Stole These Sculptures and Why?

You Won’t Believe What Happened to Sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth!

Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen

Just in case you thought yesterday’s post about lost ancient Greek sculptures was a fluke, we thought we would share some more recent sculptural mysteries.

The two stumps above are all that remains of the work by Dame Barbara Hepworth. The sculpture, titled “Two Forms (Divided Circle)” had stood on that site in a public park for more than 4 decades.

Stealing bronze sculptures is no easy task. “Two Forms” stood at 7 feet high.

The sculpture was insured for half a million pounds, but was believed to have been worth considerably more as a piece of fine art. It is believed the sculpture was stolen in 2013 to be melted down for scrap metal. In that event it probably the thieves less than £1000.

Dame Barbara who died in 1975, is considered to be one of Britain’s most important modern sculptors, with her work displayed and revered all over the world.

Irreplaceable Works By Henry Moore Stolen for Scrap


In 2005 Henry Moore’s “Reclining Nude”, shown above was similarly stolen by thieves intent on making a fortune by melting the bronze down for scrap. This piece weighed in at 2 tons. The art thieves may have received as little as £1500 for their efforts. That for a piece estimated to be worth over £3million!

Henry Moore is an artist who stipulated that no further works should be made from the casts of his works, so if they disappear and are melted down, that is it.

In 2012 two young thieves who had no idea of the value of the work, stole another of Henry Moore’s works. “Sundial” was valued at over $100,000 and was sold for a mere £182.60.

Henry Moore with Sundial

Sadly, thieves seem intent on stealing many of these prized bronzes even if the amount of money they will see for the scrap metal is a pittance compared to the value of the work.

We all lose when there is such disregard for public property–as much of the stolen art is. Taxpayers are left to repair or replace the works, or leave a whole in their parks and collections, and the hearts of art lovers around the world.

Thanks to Emily Andrews for MailOnline for the article on the stolen Barbara Hepworth piece, and to Kerry Mcdermott also of the Daily Mail (online) for the piece on Henry Moore’s missing work, and the Guardian for the article on another stolen masterpiece by Moore.

Photos of Henry Moore with Sundial and Reclining Nude courtesy of the Henry Moore Foundation.