A new exhibition at Tate Britain takes a fresh look at sculptor Henry Moore, whose work has perhaps become over-familiar through its ubiquity in public spaces. The exhibition, which opens on 24 February, brings the sculptures to new indoor settings, and finds a darker side: “The trauma of war, the advent of psychoanalysis, new ideas of sexuality, primitive art and surrealism all had an influence on Moore’s work”.
Jacquetta Hawkes greatly admired Moore’s work, particularly his feeling for the individual qualities of the stones he used. In her best-known book, A Land (1951), she praises his “understanding of the personality of stones, allowing their individual qualities to contribute to his conception”. She compares the way he uses the echoes of past creatures and climates (a fossil squid in the thigh of one of his figures, the two colours of Hornton stone) with the way a poet may “take fragments and echoes from other earlier poets to sink them in his own poems”. Moore contributed remarkable colour drawings to the book. Our Writer Fellow, Christine Finn, studied Jacquetta’s ideas about stone and sculpture and her links with Moore and other sculptors in an exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds in 2004, Partners in Stone.
The Hawkes Archive contains several social letters and postcards from Henry and Irina Moore, about birthday parties, music events, travels in stone, and tennis!