To: Delancey property management & Royal Bank of Scotland

Put back Wolverhampton's Hepworth sculpture!

16/10/14: The campaign has been a success! After a powerful public campaign, RBS have announced that they will return the Hepworth sculpture to the Mander Centre. Check out the blog here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/hepworth-win

Put back Wolverhampton's Hepworth sculpture!

Return to the Mander Centre, Wolverhampton, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture 'Rock Form (Porthcurno)', which has stood there for 46 years, and which was provided at cost price by the artist for the enjoyment of the people of the city, but which has recently been removed and is now at risk of being sold off privately, to be lost to the public forever.

Why is this important?

This wonderful, iconic sculpture is a local landmark, and by far the best single piece of artwork in Wolverhampton. It is one of only seven castings; the others are all in prestigious public collections around the world. How many other cities and how many other shopping centres have artwork of this importance on public display? It has stood in the Centre since 1968, but was secretly removed in May, on the pretext of building work that will not begin till next year. The owners, Delancey and RBS, refuse to say where the sculpture or the time capsule in its plinth now are, and refuse to give any reassurance that it will not be sold off.

RBS claims the ownership of the sculpture and the right to sell it, in the face of opposition by local shoppers, art lovers, city councillors, the city centre MP, the Hepworth Estate, the Mander family and arts organisations. And yet RBS is still 80% taxpayer owned! In any case the sculpture was provided by the artist at cost price, because of her wish that it should be an asset for the people of Wolverhampton. In effect, she donated it.

This is asset stripping of a particularly unpleasant kind - taking away one of the few real quality items from a city centre that is still struggling from the effects of the recession. Hepworth intended this sculpture for the people of Wolverhampton, not for the RBS private art stash, nor for the private pleasure of some art collecting billionaire. This is one more example of the current threat to public art in the UK from its removal from public access and sale to private collectors.

Plans for the redevelopment of the Mander Centre must be modified to include the Hepworth, and it must be returned to its place of pride as soon as practicable, and a firm guarantee given of this.

Wolverhampton

Reasons for signing

  • This is theft, plain and simple. Just what might be expected of bankers.
  • How dare they! Absolute philistines!
  • I vividly remember this iconic piece of art as a child, it fuelled my interest and I am now passing on that passion for art to my 2 sons. Return this artwork so it can inspire the generations of the future. I now live on the Dorset/Hampshire but feel the cities residents should be able to enjoy it.

Updates

2016-10-21 15:24:38 +0100
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Petition is successful with 3,003 signatures

2016-06-09 18:34:38 +0100
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Petition is successful with 3,004 signatures

2014-11-14 14:52:26 +0000
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Petition is successful with 2,940 signatures

2014-10-16 15:26:37 +0100
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Petition is successful with 2,938 signatures

2014-10-15 23:41:09 +0100

SUCCESS! Well done everyone! There will be longer term issues to settle, but for the next ten years at least, the sculpture will be safely back in Wolverhampton. Here's today's statement by RBS:

RBS is pleased to confirm that the Barbara Hepworth sculpture will remain in Wolverhampton and will return to the Mander Centre on loan from RBS, once a major refurbishment of the shopping centre has been completed.
In the meantime RBS is in discussions with Wolverhampton Art Gallery for the sculpture to be displayed there while the re-development of the shopping centre is carried out.
Rory Cullinan, Chief Executive, RBS Capital Resolution Group said;
“We are delighted that the people of Wolverhampton will continue to enjoy the artwork.”

More press releases and news at www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-10-10 17:28:20 +0100

An initial response to the hand-in of the petition has arrived. A letter from Colin Beveridge at the Executive Office of RBS says: " ... our Chief Executive Ross McEwan ... has asked me to investigate what has happened on his behalf. To undertake a thorough investigation, I have asked the relevant department for information and hope to write to you again in the next two weeks to let you know the outcome."

We'll wait and see! Meanwhile, more press reports etc at www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-10-01 12:26:44 +0100

Together with signatures collected on paper, this petition now contains over 3,000 names. It will be handed in tomorrow, 2nd October, at the Mander Centre in Wolverhampton, and copies also sent to the CEO's of Delancey and RBS, Jamie Ritblat and Ross McEwan. It will stay open for further signatures until the battle is won. Thanks for all your support!

2014-09-09 14:53:56 +0100

Many thanks for all your signatures! Regular updates on the campaign at
https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-09-05 08:47:54 +0100

2,200 names passed! And a good local press report here - http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2014/09/03/art-competition-ruled-out-as-sculptor-backs-wolverhamptons-rock-form-return/

2014-08-31 19:30:56 +0100

"MISSING SCULPTURE" poster. Volunteers needed in the day to distribute to shops etc in Wolverhampton centre, perhaps during the week after this. See what you think at https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-08-29 15:51:24 +0100

1500 signatures passed! Thank you all! But when and how do you feel we should deliver the petition? Opportunity to comment at https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-08-28 20:02:16 +0100

The petition is featured in today's Express & Star:
http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2014/08/28/1200-signatures-to-bring-back-wolverhampton-sculpture/

2014-08-24 22:53:01 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2014-08-24 09:51:45 +0100

Past 900 and heading for 1000 already! Thank you! Campaign updates at https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-08-23 19:01:12 +0100

800 signatures reached - 400 in one day. Thank you, you wonderful people! Campaign updates at https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-08-23 09:38:18 +0100

500 signatures reached

2014-08-22 10:44:32 +0100

400 signatures reached in five days! Many thanks to all of you for your excellent support.

2014-08-20 14:47:42 +0100

Many thanks for all your signatures! Regular updates on the campaign at
https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-08-17 07:35:23 +0100

100 signatures reached

2014-08-15 20:33:03 +0100

50 signatures reached

2014-08-15 17:28:11 +0100

25 signatures reached

2014-08-15 17:07:46 +0100

Regular updates on the campaign at https://www.facebook.com/Mandergate

2014-08-15 16:55:43 +0100

10 signatures reached