Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire appears in new Fake or Fortune? series on BBC One
- Credit: BBC Studios/Ben Fitzpatrick
The Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire will appear in the new series of BBC One's Fake or Fortune? next week.
The first episode of series nine – to be screened on Wednesday, July 28 – centres on a sculpture found in the long grass of a Norfolk home that bears striking similarities to the work of Henry Moore.
Could it be a lost work by one of the greatest 20th-century artists?
The find leads the Fake or Fortune? team to the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, near Much Hadham, Hertfordshire.
The Henry Moore Foundation has the final say on the matter. Is it fake or fortune?
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The release of this new episode, entitled A Sculpture in the Brambles, coincides with the anniversary of the birthday of Henry Moore – July 30.
The episode starts with presenters Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould heading to the beautiful Norfolk countryside to investigate an intriguing sculpture that belongs to retired dairy farmer Neil Betts and his wife Barbara.
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Over the years, they have used the piece as a doorstop and even a water feature, when Neil draped a hosepipe over it.
It was only when a friend suggested it looked very much like the work of Henry Moore that the Betts family began to see it in a different light – and started to call it 'Henry'.
Neil and Barbara inherited the sculpture from their former neighbour, Mrs Williams, who at that time lived next door to them at Mergate Hall, near Norwich.
The sculpture had been found in the long grass of the grounds of the hall when Neil had struck it with his strimmer while helping the Williams clear the garden.
When Mrs Williams died, she left it to the Betts along with all of her possessions.
Things get off to a promising start when Neil and Barbara send photographs of the sculpture to the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Hertfordshire.
The Foundation has the authority to decide whether previously uncatalogued pieces are genuine works by Moore.
They were interested enough in the Betts’ piece to ask them to submit it to their Review Panel.
But first the Fake or Fortune? team are helping the Betts research this distinctive piece and compile a dossier of evidence.
When expert Philip Mould takes his first proper look at the sculpture, he admits to being “rather blown away by it".
He’s struck by the similarities with recurring motifs and stylistic features of Moore’s work, though the silvery appearance of the sculpture also strikes him as unusual.
Discovering what this sculpture is made of, and whether it’s a material that Henry Moore used, will be a crucial part of the investigation.
Norfolk was an area that Henry Moore visited often, spending holidays in the village of Mulbarton, which is just along the road from Mergate Hall.
Local history has it that Moore even visited Mergate Hall on several occasions.
It’s an exciting and tantalising prospect that needs further investigation.
But as Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce begins her research, it soon becomes clear that there’s another possible name to consider as the creator of 'Henry' – a forgotten artist.
There’s a huge amount at stake. If this is a unique, one-off piece by Henry Moore, Philip shocks everyone by revealing it could be worth up to a £1million.
As Fiona Bruce, who also presents Antiques Roadshow, puts it: "My God, there's a lot at stake with this one, isn't there?"
You can find out the result on Fake or Fortune? on Wednesday, July 28 at 9pm on BBC One.
Who was Henry Moore?
The Henry Moore Foundation was founded by the artist and his family in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts.
The Henry Moore Studios & Gardens is the former home and work-place of the sculptor.
From 1940 until his death in 1986, Henry Moore lived and worked in rural Hertfordshire at Perry Green where he acquired over 70 acres of land and set up various studios, creating the ideal environment in which he could make and display his work and cater to an international demand for exhibitions.
Now open to the public, Henry Moore Studios & Gardens offers a unique insight into the artist’s working practice and showcases a large selection of his renowned monumental sculptures in the landscape in which they were created.
Fake or Fortune? A Sculpture in the Brambles can be first seen on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.