A PRICELESS bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, the most famous of all

his works, has been seriously damaged by vandals in Dumfriesshire.

The King and Queen, which has stood unharmed for 40 years in the open

air on 56-year-old Henry Keswick's Glenkiln estate, near Dumfries, has

been beheaded. Yesterday, saw marks were obvious on the narrow necks of

its two figures.

The work, on an outcrop of rock overlooking a loch, can be seen from a

minor public road and, although the vandals would have had to climb over

a fence and up a hill, they could have got there within a few minutes

from the road.

Police say they do not know the motive for the damage. Inspector John

Houston, of Dumfries and Galloway Police, said yesterday: ''The heads of

both figures have been cut off and have not been recovered. The damage

is substantial but we cannot put a value on it at this stage.''

He added: ''We believe the damage was caused towards the end of last

week. We do not know the reason for it. The CID is investigating.''

Mr Houston said there were no plans at this stage to search the loch,

part of Dumfries and Galloway's water supply scheme, for the missing


The King and Queen is regarded by experts as the ultimate masterpiece

by Moore, who died in 1986.

Originally, four casts of the sculpture were made in 1952. The first

went to Middelheim open-air sculpture park near Antwerp, Belgium.

Another was bought by Mr Curt Valentin's gallery in New York, and was

later sold to Mr Jo Hirshhorn for his museum in Washington.

The third was bought by Mr David Astor, a former editor of the

Observer newspaper, who kept it on his back lawn at St John's Wood,

London, until 1976, when he sold it to the Norton Simon Museum in

Pasenda, California.

The fourth was bought by Mr Keswick's father, the late Mr Tony

Keswick, a director of Jardine Matheson. A fifth cast was made in 1957

for the Tate Gallery in London.

The Glenkiln bronze, looking across the border from Scotland into

England, was bought by Mr Keswick in 1954 and erected on its present

site the following year.

It was destined to become the best known of all the castings. Moore

was offered a huge sum of money to make an extra cast and asked Mr

Keswick, as the only private owner of the first edition, if he had any


Mr Keswick did object but Moore went ahead. However, to leave the

first edition inviolate, he listed it as 5+1 not 6. In his will, he

stipulated that no casts of his work should be made after his death.

The King and Queen is one of six sculptures on Mr Keswick's 5000-acre

estate. The others are Moore's Standing Figure, Two-Piece Reclining

Figure No 1, and Glenkiln Cross; Visitation by Sir Jacob Epstein, and

John the Baptist by Auguste Rodin.

They can all be seen from the public road and have become a major

tourist attraction in the area. Last year, a book about the sculptures

by Mr John McEwan was published by Canongate Press, with photographs by

Mr John Haddington.

Over the years, the Keswicks have received abusive letters asking how

they dared desecrate the countryside with ''hideous bits of metal and

the like'' but grateful letters, especially from foreign visitors,


Mr Keswick was not available yesterday for comment. He is believed to

be abroad.