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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:

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.

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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

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

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

10 signatures reached