Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Stolen From Dulwich Park

The theft of London’s public sculptures reached a nadir last night, with the theft of Barbara Hepworth’s Two Forms (Divided Circle) from Dulwich Park.

The bronze work has stood in the park for over 40 years and was a local landmark. In all probability, it’s now on its way to a black-market metal dealer, to be melted down and never seen again. Southwark Council have offered a £1,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) is one of Britain’s most famous sculptors. Another piece by the artist can be found in Battersea Park, and she also modelled the angel-like structure on the eastern end of John Lewis, Oxford Street.

The loss is the latest and most high-profile case of cultural abduction in the capital. Last month, a statue of Southwark hero Dr Salter was taken from Bermondsey river front. A month before, a war memorial was stolen from Twickenham.

Only yesterday, the Metropolitan Police launched a new unit charged with tackling metal theft. The stolen sculpture and an attempted cable theft on the Liverpool Street lines today add urgency to their mission.

Image by Zoe Craig in the Londonist Flickr stream.

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  • Dean Nicholas

    From one of the links: “The problem…. causes the deaths of two offenders a week”. Might this be an issue that Darwinism gradually deals with?

    • Anonymous

      No. They’ll simply evolve to absorb huge electric shocks and high-speed impacts. We’ll have a new super-race of impervious crims.

      • Dean Nicholas

        Someone should get on the phone to Stan Lee, there’s a comic book in this. (not that there’s anything comic about this serious problem, mind)

  • Dean Nicholas

    Although I suppose that we’re likely to see an increase in the much-safer pursuit of statue theft.

  • Anonymous

    If the scrap industry can’t regulate itself perhaps it’s time to consider a different (licensing) regime and a repeal/reform of the The Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act 1964. Train and power services are being remorselessly targeted and the dealers must know what they are buying and from whom. I recently filmed some Roma stealing “scrap” from the railway in east London and because I was willing to go to court as a witness they were convicted, however their £80 fine is hardly a deterrent (if they’ve paid it).  Local authorities now have extensive recycling facilities and could (perhaps!) perform a useful service here, rather than leaving it to the guys who’re knowingly buying this gear from ruthless and hardened criminals, who take any chance convictions as an “occupational hazard” and reap ever more substantial rewards.

  • Gordon Joly

    href=”http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24023318-new-cable-theft-brings-chaos-to-london-trains.do”>Zoe Craig

    Looks like an error in that link?

    • http://cultureandthecity.blogspot.com/ Zoe Craig

      Corrected. Thanks, Gordon

  • Roy Reed

    This is sickening – I was photographing this just a couple of months ago: http://www.360cities.net/image/dulwich-park-hepworth-sculpture-london

  • Anonymous

    There’s a petition backed by all the major railway companies to support a new bill to reform to the outdated scrap metal dealers act. Essentially, they’re looking to make it so that the people buying the materials are responsible for making sure it’s not stolen. At the moment there’s no pressure on their shoulders so they don’t care.

    You can sign it here. Early days yet, needs at least 100,000 signatures to be eligible  for debate in the house of commons. 
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/21165