Henry Moore OM, CH

King and Queen

1952–3, cast 1957

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 1640 x 1390 x 910 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery with funds provided by Associated Rediffusion Ltd 1959
Reference
T00228

Display caption

Although this sculpture was made around the time of Elizabeth II’s coronation, its subject is not the modern constitutional monarchy. Instead it focuses on the ancient conception of the monarch as a divine or divinely blessed being.

Moore has combined naturalistic elements, for example the hands and feet, with more abstracted or primitivised ones, such as the heads. His intention was to suggest the blend of the human and celestial within kingship. This image of stable and benevolent authority resonated widely in the post-war climate of uncertainty.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Entry

King and Queen comprises a male and a female figure sitting side by side on a bench. The male figure is slightly broader and taller than the female and when viewed from the front it is evident that they are both sitting at an angle, facing left of centre. The female figure sits further forward on the bench in a more upright position, while the male figure appears to be leaning back slightly, as though more relaxed.
The head of the male is delineated by an angular lower jaw that narrows to a sharp point at the chin and a thin blade of bronze occupying the position of the nose that connects the chin to the top of the head in a straight line (fig.1). In the place of cheeks are hollowed cavities that accentuate the sharpness of the central ridge, through which a circular hole has been drilled to denote expressionless eyes. The top of the head is flat but slopes steeply upwards from the front to the back. At the front, above the central nasal ridge, is a semi-circular band that extends out of the mass of the head and arches up and over to the other side of the face, and may signify a quiff of hair or an ornamental headpiece (fig.2). From some angles it appears as though the upper rear edges of the head take the form of goat-like horns. The thinness of the face contrasts with the two rounded protrusions at the nape of the neck.
Fig.1
Detail of heads of King and Queen 1952–3, cast 1957
Tate T00228
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Fig.2
Detail of King's head, King and Queen 1952–3, cast 1957
Tate T00228
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

The male figure’s shoulders are symmetrical and follow the line of an arc; the collar-bone and chest repeat the curve of the shoulders, and no bodily features such as nipples, muscles or a navel are visible on the torso suggesting that the figure is clothed. The arms are thin tubular limbs; the left arm is held slightly in front of the body and is bent at the elbow so that the left hand, with individually modelled fingers, rests in the figure’s lap (fig.3). The right arm is positioned slightly behind the body, with a slight crook in the elbow. The forearm tapers to a narrow wrist and the palm of the right hand rests flat on the side leg of the bench (fig.4).

Alice Correia
December 2013

Notes

1
Another drawing by Moore dating from 1949 depicting a male and female couple sitting on a low bench was reproduced in Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 2: Sculpture and Drawings 1949–1955, 1955, 2nd edn, London 1965, pl.96.
2
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.221.
3
Donald Hall, Henry Moore: The Life and Work of a Great Sculptor, London 1966, pp.130–1.
4
Anthony Caro, ‘King and Queen 1952–53’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.241.
5
Hall 1966, p.131.
6
Ibid.
7
Julie Summers, ‘Fragment of Maquette for King and Queen’, in Claude Allemand-Cosneau, Manfred Fath and David Mitchinson (eds.), Henry Moore From the Inside Out: Plasters, Carvings and Drawings, Munich 1996, p.126.
8
Caro 2006, p.242.
9
Summers 1996, p.126.
10
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.232.
11
Henry Moore, letter to Allan D. Emil, 21 October 1966, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, p.283. This letter is held in the Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. See http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/allan-d-and-kate-s-emil-papers-8502, accessed 29 January 2014.
12
Wilkinson 2002, p.283, note 22.
13
David Mitchinson, ‘King and Queen’, in Henry Moore: War and Utility, exhibition catalogue, Imperial War Museum, London 2006, p.48.
14
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.221.
15
Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.140.
16
Moore 1960, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.234.
17
Ibid., p.234.
18
Moore 1960, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.234.
19
Mitchinson, ‘King and Queen’, 2006, p.48.
20
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.221.
21
As Moore’s biographer Donald Hall recalled: ‘An Egyptian Limestone Seated Figure is the sculpture Moore remembers especially. The official and his wife are rocky and solid.’ Hall 1966, pp.129–30.
22
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.
23
Ibid., p.38.
24
Hall 1966, p.129.
25
Henry Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1986, p.156.
26
Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London 1960, p.147.
27
Ibid.
28
John Read, ‘King and Queen, 1952–3’, in Mitchinson, Celebrating Moore, 2006, p.238.
29
John Read, Portrait of an Artist: Henry Moore, London 1979, p.110.
30
Anita Feldman Bennet, ‘Rediscovering Humanism’, in Henry Moore: In the Light of Greece, exhibition catalogue, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros 2000, p.65. A copy of this portrait, which was taken by the photographer Jitendra Arya around 1952, is held in the Henry Moore Foundation Archive, although it is uncertain when the image came into Moore’s possession.
31
Nigel Gosling, ‘Royalty’, Observer, 21 February 1954, p.11.   
32
Anon., ‘Mr Moore’s New Bronzes: An Experimental Phase’, Times, 15 February 1954, p.4. 
33
Stephen Bone, ‘Recent Works by Henry Moore’, Manchester Guardian, 12 February 1954, p.5.
34
David Sylvester, ‘Henry Moore’s Sculpture’, Britain Today, no.215, March 1954, pp.34–5.
35
Ibid., p.35.
36
Henry Moore, ‘Sculpture in the Open Air: A Talk by Henry Moore on his Sculpture and its Placing in Open-Air Sites’, March 1955, p.7, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23941.
37
Henry Moore, ‘Voice of the Artist 1: The Hidden Struggle’, Observer, 24 November 1957, p.3.
38
Peter Anselm Riedl, Henry Moore: König und Königin, Stuttgart 1957, p.4.
39
Ibid., p.7.
40
Hall 1966, p.131.
41
Henry Moore cited in Anita Feldman and Malcolm Woodward, Henry Moore: Plasters, London 2011, p.66.
42
Robert Melville, ‘Henry Moore and the Siting of Public Sculpture’, Architectural Review, February 1954, pp.88–9.
43
Ibid., p.89.
44
Ibid.
45
Herbert Read, ‘Introduction’, in Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 2: Sculpture and Drawings 1949–1955, 1955, 2nd edn, London 1965, p.x.
46
Riedl 1957, p.5.
47
Grohmann 1960, p.148.
48
Ibid.
49
Ibid.
50
Henry Moore cited in ‘Sculpture in Landscape’, Selection, Autumn 1962, pp.12, 15, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.246.
51
Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, London 1959, p.115.
52
David Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, London 1977, p.298.
53
Henry Moore cited in Stephen Spender, Henry Moore: Sculptures in Landscape, London 1978, p.26.
54
Kenneth Clark, ‘Foreword’, in Finn 1977, p.20.
55
Moore 1955, p.7, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23941.
56
Minutes of a Meeting of the Trustees of the Tate Gallery, 16 May 1957, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.
57
Henry Moore, letter to John Rothenstein, 3 June 1957, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.
58
John Rothenstein, letter to Henry Moore, 18 July 1958, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.
59
Ibid. The company had previously been a radio broadcaster under the name Rediffusion. No details about how the company came to provide funds to the Tate Gallery for the acquisition of Moore’s sculpture are held in the Tate Public Records.
60
Norman Reid, letter to Henry Moore, 17 November 1958, Tate Public Records TG 4/2/742/2.

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