Catalogue entry

T00228 KING AND QUEEN 1952–3

Not inscribed.
Bronze, 64 1/2×54 1/2×33 1/4 (163·5×138·5×84·5), including base.
Purchased by the Friends of the Tate Gallery out of Funds provided by Associated Rediffusion Ltd, 1959.
Exh: Another cast: 2nd Biennial Sculpture Exhibition, Middelheim, June–September 1953 (57, repr.).
Lit: David Sylvester, ‘Henry Moore's Sculpture’ in Britain Today, March 1954, pp.34–5; Peter Anselm Riedl, Henry Moore: König und Königin, Stuttgart, 1957, another version repr. pls.1–10; Hodin, 1958, another cast repr. pl.21; Neumann, 1959, pp.112–15, other casts repr. pls.85, 87–8, 90; Grohmann, 1960, pp.147–8, the plaster and other casts repr. pls.133–6.
Repr: Guide to the Tate Gallery, 1959; Tate Gallery Report, 1958–59, 1959. Other casts: Read, II, 1955, frontispiece and Nos.80 and 80a-i.

The original maquette was made in 1952 (9 in. high, 10 1/2 in. with frame; repr. Read, op. cit., No.79, and Riedl, op. cit., pl.11) and it was only subsequently that the first large cast was commissioned by the corporation of Antwerp for the open-air Museum in Middelheim Park; this was completed in 1953. Another cast was commissioned by W.J. Keswick for a moorland site at Shawhead, Dumfries (repr. Read, op. cit., Nos.80b–e), and there are two other casts in private collections. An additional cast was made specially for the Tate Gallery in 1957. A drawing of 1952 belongs to the artist (repr. Grohmann, op. cit., p.2). There are two independent ‘Seated Figures’ related to the Queen, clothed (1952–3; 41 in. high; repr. Read, op. cit., Nos.77 and 77a) and unclothed (1952; 8 in. high; repr. Read, op. cit., No.76), and a ‘Pair of Hands: study for hands of Queen’ (1952; 5 in. high; repr. Read op. cit., No.78).

In his talk recorded for the British Council in 1955 Moore says: ‘I call this work “King and Queen”. Perhaps the main clue to it is the head of the King, which is head, crown, beard, beak, combined in one form invention. It is an amalgamation which is meant to have something animal and pan-like about it as well as human. The conception has no reference to present-day Royalty, but to a very ancient idea of Royalty. Some parts of it are more realistic than others - the hands and feet particularly - to bring out the contrast between human grace and the concept of power in primitive kingship’ (see also statement in exh. cat., Curt Valentin Gallery, New York, 1954, reprinted Riedl, op. cit., p.20). The idea of enclosing the group within a frame, to be seen in the maquette, was tried out on the full-size plaster but discarded.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II