HC Deb 27 November 1967 vol 755 cc7-8
8. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works for how long the Henry Moore sculpture at present deposited on the grass in Abingdon Street Gardens will remain there.

Mr. Mellish

So far as I am concerned, indefinitely.

Mr. Marten

Although it may be admired by a few outdated modernists, would the Minister not agree with the great majority of passers-by that it is a very poor artistic judgment to have dumped this sculpture on the grass against the background of the Palace of Westminster? Would he try and urge the authorities to move this sort of bric-à-brac to some more suitable place like the Municipal Gardens in Bermondsey?

Mr. Mellish

This is a matter of taste. I have a long list of those whom I think I should consult, but the hon. Member is not even on the list.

Mr. Whitaker

Will my hon. Friend give to the world's greatest living sculptor and to the Contemporary Art Society the gratitude of most hon. Members of this House, other than Members of the Philistine party who are seeking facetious publicity?

Mr. Mellish

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. Henry Moore gave this sculpture to the nation. A similar cast was sold to America for £40,000, but he gave this one to the nation. This happens to be one of the few capitals of the world which has not got an example of his great work, and I am very proud to have been associated with it.

Mr. Chichester-Clerk

Would the Minister realise that there is no single view in any party in this House on this matter?