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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.

August 2004