A sculpture created over 70 years ago has been acquired by the Museum of London after it was rediscovered in a London garden.

The sculpture was first created as part of the Festival of Britain, a national exhibition and fair in the summer of 1951 to kick-start the post-war recovery.

Titled ‘Youth’, it was created by British sculptor Daphne Hardy Henrion, and was modelled on a full size body cast of the artist.

After its display, the piece had been lost to the public, but was rediscovered in the garden of the artist’s former home.

The discovery was made by Sarah Gaventa, an independent curator who is an expert in the lost art of the Festival of Britain.

Gaventa said the sculpture was hidden behind a fig tree in the garden of the home in Hampstead, where it had been standing for nearly 70 years.

Left: Cast being prepared for removal to Museum (c) Museum of London. Right: Cast in process of being moved to Festival of Britain © Henrion family archive

The sculpture has since been gifted to the museum by the late artist’s family, and has undergone restoration work.

Gaventa said: ”I am delighted to have been the matchmaker between the Henrion family and the Museum of London to find this important work a new home and to ensure its preservation.”

It will join the museum’s London Collection alongside posters and printed material relating to the festival, as well as a model of the South Bank site.

Francis Marshall, Senior Curator (Paintings, Prints and Drawings) at the Museum of London, said the sculpture “highlights a time in London’s history where art was at the core of a national celebration, seeing rejuvenation to a country devastated by war.”

Paul Henrion, one of three of the artist’s children, said: “We look forward to seeing her after she has been restored. Youth will be given a new lease of life and it is good to know there will be an opportunity for others to enjoy this sculpture in the future.”


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