N05600 PROJECT FOR MADONNA AND CHILD 1943
Inscr. ‘Moore’ on l. of seat.
Bronze, 5 1/2×3×3 (14×7·5×7·5).
Purchased from the artist through the Berkeley Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1945.
Exh: Berkeley Galleries, March–April 1945 (2 or 4); Venice Biennale and Milan, 1948 (27a).
Lit: Read and Sylvester, I, 1957, p.13, No.216, the terracotta repr. p.138.
Repr: The terracotta: Read, 1944, pl.107b (2nd from r.); Sweeney, 1946, pl.74 (2nd from r.).
N05600– N05603 are casts of four of the twelve maquettes (Read and Sylvester, op. cit., pp.12–13) made in 1943 in connexion with the life-size ‘Madonna and Child’ carved in Hornton stone 1943–4 for the church of St Matthew, Northampton (repr. op. cit., pls.140–2; for a discussion of this work, see Neumann, 1959, pp.89–90, repr. pls.55–6); the finished work was based on the terracotta of N05602. The maquettes were modelled in clay and then baked, the small bronzes being cast from the terracottas, as were N05604– N05606 (letter from the artist, 22 January 1963).
The artist wrote of the project: 'I began thinking of the “Madonna and Child” for St Matthew's considering in what ways a “Madonna and Child” differs from a carving of just a “Mother and Child” - that is, by considering how in my opinion religious art differs from secular art.
‘It's not easy to describe in words what this difference is, except by saying in general terms that the “Madonna and Child” should have an austerity and a nobility, and some touch of grandeur (even hieratic aloofness) which is missing in the everyday “Mother and Child” idea. Of the sketches and models I have done, the one chosen has I think a quiet dignity and gentleness. I have tried to give a sense of complete easiness and repose, as though the Madonna could stay in that position for ever (as being in stone, she will have to do).’ (Leaflet of 1943; reprinted op. cit., p.xxv.)
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II