Bid to solve 35-year-old mystery of lost artwork

News. Photo: Shutterstock
News. Photo: Shutterstock

New moves are being made to unravel the mystery of what happened to a piece of art which went missing from a Copthorne housing estate more than 35 years ago.

Historians want to track down what became of the artwork - a bronze sculpture called La Primavera which was created by artist Keith McCarter for a development of new homes in the village in 1979.

The bronze piece was an abstract sculpture made to resemble a seed from a pine cone.

It was commissioned to mark the start of a development of new homes being built by the developer Wates in Copthorne.

The piece was moved by the developer before the houses were sold - and no-one knows what’s happened to it since.

But Historic England - previously known as English Heritage - is now seeking information on its whereabouts.

Historic England has warned that the artwork is among a number of England’s post-war public art created by some of the most important artists of the twentieth century that is “disappearing before the public’s eyes”.

It has revealed that a growing number of sculptures, architectural friezes and murals – made between the Second World War and the mid-1980s - have been destroyed, sold, lost or stolen.

And Historic England says that the Copthorne bronze sculpture is among a “worrying amount of artwork from the streets, housing estates, work places, shopping centres and schools for which the pieces were designed’

Although many of the works have been destroyed completely, some could still be out there, says Historic England which is issuing a call for information.

Chief executive Duncan Wilsonsaid: “Historic England’s research is only the tip of the iceberg as it’s almost impossible to trace what has happened to every piece of public art since 1945.

“What we do know is that this art work was commissioned and created for everyone to enjoy, and it should remain accessible to all.”

If anyone knows anything about the fate of the artwork, they can get in touch by emailing OutThere@historicengland.org.uk or calling 0207 973 3250.