- Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
- Object: 490 x 844 x 460 mm
- Presented by the artist 1978
This bronze sculpture is made up of five interlocking pieces, each of which forms a right angle. Although they are irregularly shaped, the pieces contain both sharp and rounded edges, smoothly curved surfaces and more than one projecting appendage, which enables each piece to interlock or overlap with at least two others (fig.1). Two of these limb-like forms point down to the base and serve to support the mass above from both ends. The sculpture as a whole is horizontally orientated, and is approximately as wide as it is tall.
Large Slow Form was cast in 1968 having been developed and enlarged from a smaller sculpture conceived in 1962 called Slow Form: Tortoise. Discussing this earlier work Moore commented that ‘it is one right-angled form, repeated five times, and arranged together to make an organic composition. This repeated slow right-angle reminded me of the action of a tortoise’.1 One of the pieces has a concave upper surface and terminates in an upward-facing point at one end of the form. This may be seen to serve as a kind of ‘head’, suggesting a natural orientation to the sculpture. This end is also slightly taller than the other and creates, when viewed in conjunction with the raised point at the centre of the sculpture where three pieces meet, a diagonal incline through the form.
Making Large Slow Form
Moore began work on Slow Form: Tortoise by making a small maquette of the sculpture from plaster, clay or another malleable material. When he was satisfied with the design Moore would then have scaled up the maquette in plaster (fig.2). The enlarged form would have been built by applying successive layers of plaster to a supportive armature constructed from wood or chicken wire. Once the plaster version of Slow Form: Tortoise was complete it was sent to the Art Bronze Foundry in London to be cast in bronze. The foundry technicians would have used the plaster original to create a hollow mould into which molten bronze could be poured. Slow Form: Tortoise 1962 (fig.3) was cast in an edition of nine plus one artist’s copy, and according to records held at the Henry Moore Foundation all ten sculptures were cast in 1968, six years after the original maquette was made.
Moore and animals
The Henry Moore Gift
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.365.
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.
David Mitchinson, ‘The Henry Moore Foundation’s Collection’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.20.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: Sculptor, London 1934, p.13.
Henry Moore, ‘Statement for Unit One’, in Herbert Read (ed.), Unit One: The Modern Movement in English Architecture, Painting and Sculpture, London 1934, pp.29–30, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, pp.191–3.
W.J. Strachan, Henry Moore: Animals, London 1983, p.9.
John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1973, p.184
Anthony Caro, ‘Large Slow Form’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.273
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.