Henry Moore OM, CH

Animal Head

1957, cast c.1957–62

Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Object: 570 x 515 x 290 mm
Presented by the artist 1978

Not on display

Catalogue entry


This is a wall mounted hollow sculpture of an animal’s head. The sculpture is not a naturalistic representation of a real animal, but appears to combine both equine and bovine features. Animal Head seems to depict a living animal and has a distinctive facial expression.
From its vertically positioned rectangular mount the animal head projects outwards horizontally from the wall, like a gargoyle. At the rear of the head, a tubular neck joins the sculpture to the mount and sits flush on the surface.
At the top of the head the tubular neck extends into a thin peaked ridge, creating a jagged profile and a noticeable v-shape behind the eyes, which are denoted by a single hole or tunnel that runs straight through this ridge linking the two sides of the head. The opening of the hole on each side thus represents a single eye (fig.1). A curved eyebrow has been incised above the eye on the right-hand profile. From the triangular point above the eyes the nasal bone runs the length of the head, terminating in a slight point at the front of the sculpture. This point or tip is flanked on either side by two large nostrils, each denoted by large domed indentations with protruding circular edges (fig.2). The nostrils are aligned on either side of the head like the eyes, although here the indentations do not join up to create a single hole. The muzzle or snout of the animal is quite wide and, together with the shape of the nostrils, resembles that of a hippopotamus. Below the muzzle is an open mouth, denoted by a thin but deep gap between the upper snout and the projecting mandible, or lower jaw (fig.3).

The various features of the head are not arranged symmetrically like those of real animals. The cheekbone on the left is much more pronounced than that on the right-hand side, emphasised by a recession behind the nostril. The line from the ridge of the nasal bone to the edge of the left cheek bone is a much steeper and longer diagonal compared to that of the right, which is much fuller and rounder. The left cheekbone extends backwards behind the eye socket and curves inwards to form the nape of the neck.

Alice Correia
February 2013


Henry Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.57.
See Henry Moore at Perry Green, London 2011, p.34.
Ibid., p.17.
Henry Moore in Donald Hall, ‘Henry Moore: An Interview by Donald Hall’, Horizon, November 1960, p.113, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, p.226.
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.300.
Henry Moore sales log book, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, London 1986, p.159.
Moore 1960, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.234.
Julie Summers, ‘Gilding the Lily: The Patination of Henry Moore’s Bronze Sculptures’, in Jackie Heuman (ed.), From Marble to Chocolate: The Conservation of Modern Sculpture, London 1995, p.145.
Moore 1960, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.234.
Summers 1995, p.145.
Moore 1960, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.234.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: Sculptor, London 1934, p.13.
Henry Moore cited in W.J. Strachan, Henry Moore: Animals, London 1983, p.9.
Ibid., p.9.
This developmental sequence is based on the way in which these drawings are presented in the artist’s catalogue raisionné, where Animal Studies c.1950 is listed before Animal Heads c.1950. See Ann Garrould (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 4: Complete Drawings 1950–76, London 2003, p.20.
Strachan 1983, p.127.
Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.166.
See for example, Barbara Braun, Pre-Columbian Art and the Post-Columbian World: Ancient American Sources of Modern Art, New York 2000, p.122; and Strachan 1983, pp.14–18.
Henry Moore cited in James Johnson Sweeny, ‘Henry Moore’, Partisan Review, March–April 1947, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.44.
In his introduction to the book Moore concluded that ‘It has been a wonderful experience for me to recapture the delight, the excitement, the inspiration I got in these pieces as a young and developing sculptor’. Henry Moore, Henry Moore at the British Museum, London 1981, p.16.
Ibid., p.40.
Reinhard Rudolph, ‘Animal Head, 1955’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.250.
Strachan 1983, p.127.
Rudolph 2006, p.250.
Ibid., p.250.
See ‘Note on the Henry Moore Gift’, 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
These figures are based on those listed in a memo in the exhibition’s records; see Tate Public Records TG 92/344/2.
Norman Reid, letter to Mary Danowski, 31 August 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.

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