Henry Moore

They have quite a few of his works at the Sainsbury Centre at the UEA here in Norwich. Though Moore is best known for his sculpture, I am always attracted to his drawings which are sometimes preliminary sketches for the sculptures, sometimes not. What I like about them is that though you can really see the strength of the sculptor at play, they are equally compelling in their own right. Moore was the Official War Artist of World War II between 1940-42. He produced drawings of Londoners sheltering in underground stations during air raids, some of which are also on display at the Sainsbury Centre. War Artist: what an odd job description. I wonder who got that for the war in Iraq, if anyone.


Family Group, 1944

This drawing forms part of the preliminary ideas for a sculpture to be sited outside a school near Cambridge. In several of the studies two children are shown handling a book, a detail inspired by the scholastic nature of the project. The commission was abandoned for financial reasons, but an altered version of the sculpture (with a single child) was made several years later. As I think you can tell, I have copied and pasted this bit from a site that gives information about the art. It’s rather straightforward, but then writing about art beyond the informative is fraught with problems and can often lead to pseuds’ corner via some specialised and tortured gobbledegook. I’ll post a dissertation about it one day.

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9 Responses to Henry Moore

  1. AndyP says:

    Moore, as you’ll probably know, was born in Castleford and trained in Leeds. So the city claims proud links to the man and we have the Henry Moore Institute here linked to the city art gallery.

    While I was at Leeds Uni there was a bit of controversy over a Moore piece. There was a stark choice – purchase a Moore sculpture, or build a swimming pool, there was funding for only one of the two. The sculpture won and was positioned outside the Edward Boyle Library. Alas many of the students didn’t appreciate it and there were many grumblings about how a pool would have been better value for money.

    Oddly enough a day before you posted this I’d picked up some leaflets about the Henry Moore Institute and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to add to your, as yet unposted, “parcel”. 😉

  2. Stephen Foster says:


    They should of* had the pool, better for public health.

  3. johnnyneptune says:

    he’s a poor man’s barbara hepworth 🙂

    oi winger – http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/mar/29/bauhaus-bed-and-breakfast – no pole though

  4. Panini Pete says:

    Harold Rileys brother is my Mrs’ uncle, now Rileys sketches and drawings are fabulous.

  5. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Panini, I’ve never heard of him but have just had a look round. Found a nice drawing of a man walking a dog that will make a post of it’s own … are you from Salford then?

    I had a look at that too Johnny. I think I’m happy to admire the architectural motifs without going to Germany for a Health & Efficiency Holiday, particularly as there is no pole.

  6. johnnyneptune says:

    nowt wrong with H&E, think of the 70s bush on view.

  7. Stephen Foster says:

    I’m not sure I can sanction that comment on a family blog, unless topiary forms some part of the hidden Bauhaus.

  8. johnnyneptune says:

    the 1870s english gardens are a delight, it says in the article

  9. George S says:

    I think there were official war artists for the Falklands, and indeed there were for Iraq too. Try Googlin Arabella Dorman. I think Steve McQueen also worked during the Iraq War (until his great escape, etc etc). A man called Matthew Cook was ‘war artist’ in Iraq for The Times. Here he is.

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