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Sculpture that spent decades on farmer's mantle could be worth $70,000

A sculpture that spent decades on the mantle in a Wiltshire, England, farmer's home is now scheduled to be auctioned after being identified as a piece called "Mother and Child" by 20th century British artist Henry Moore. Photo courtesy of Dreweatts
A sculpture that spent decades on the mantle in a Wiltshire, England, farmer's home is now scheduled to be auctioned after being identified as a piece called "Mother and Child" by 20th century British artist Henry Moore. Photo courtesy of Dreweatts

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A lead sculpture that spent decades on the mantle of a British farmhouse was identified as a rare piece by British artist Henry Moore, and is expected to fetch up to $70,000 at auction.

The sculpture, which is scheduled to be auctioned March 16 by Dreweatts, was identified as a work titled Mother and Child by 20th century Modernist sculptor Henry Moore.

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The auction house said the sculpture was on the mantle in John Hastings' Wiltshire, England, home from the 1970s until his death in 2019.

The family had Hastings' belongings appraised after his death, and the appraiser pointed out the sculpture's similarities to works by Moore.

The Hastings family contacted Dreweatts and the Henry Moore Foundation, both of which had the artwork authenticated by their respective experts.

Dreweatts specialist Francesca Whithams said the sculpture is considered especially rare, as Moore only worked with lead briefly in the 1930s. She said the piece was previously unknown to experts.

"What is significant is that the Henry Moore Foundation was not aware of the sculpture, despite Moore keeping meticulous records," Whitham told The Times of London.

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The sculpture is believed to have been a gift from Moore to Hastings' father, Hubert de Cronin Hastings, who was an editor at the Architectural Review for nearly 50 years. The magazine frequently featured Moore and his artwork.

The piece was then later passed down to John Hastings.

"John was a countryman and farmer who bred sheep and livestock," a representative of the family told The Times. "He was more interested in his animals than fine art. He was not concerned or bothered who the sculpture was by."

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