To lose one public artwork may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two — in the same week — looks worse than simple carelessness. Days after it emerged that Tower Hamlets was to sell off a Henry Moore sculpture, it has emerged that an Eduardo Paolozzi piece on High Holborn is to be auctioned.
The huge bronze figure, titled The Artist as Hephaestus, is one of the late Scottish artist's many contributions to the London streetscape, has regarded Holborn perambulators with its beatific gaze for these past 25 years.
Yet it is now gone, spirited away by the owners of the building upon which it stands. The sculpture is due to be auctioned on 14 November, and could command a price of up to £250,000.
The 20th Century Society has called upon Camden council to intervene, arguing that "this important work of modern sculpture [must remain] visible to the public." The Society has also petitioned the auction house, Bonham's, to cancel the sale.