Henry Moore OM, CH Maquette for Madonna and Child 1943

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Artwork details

Maquette for Madonna and Child
Date 1943
Medium Bronze
Dimensions Object: 156 x 86 x 70 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1945
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1940

Catalogue entry

Technique and condition

This maquette of a seated mother holding a child is a solid bronze cast with no hollow cavity. The original model for this sculpture was made in clay and would have been used to make a mould from which the final bronze version could be cast. Moore made small impressions into the clay model to denote facial features, fingers and drapery in the clothing, which are replicated in the bronze sculpture. The level of surface detail on the bronze suggests that it was made using the traditional lost wax casting technique. Although it is possible to see where casting flashes have been filed away and chased to blend with the surrounding surface, there is otherwise little post-cast finishing.
Henry Moore ''Maquette for Madonna and Child'' 1943, cast 1944–5
Henry Moore
Maquette for Madonna and Child 1943, cast 1944–5 (side view)
© The Henry Moore Foundation, All Rights Reserved, DACS 2014
The bronze surface has been coloured using chemical patination techniques. First, a slightly transparent brown colour was applied over the entire surface, followed by a more opaque green colour, which was then rubbed back on the high points using a light abrasive to pick out the details of the form (fig.1). The patina was then finished with a coating of wax. The brown base colour is often used on bronzes and is likely to have been applied using a solution of potassium polysulphide (otherwise known as ‘liver of sulphur’) in water. There are many different patina recipes used to produce green colours on bronzes but they often contain mixtures of copper and ammonium salts.
Henry Moore ''Maquette for Madonna and Child'' 1943, cast 1944–5
Henry Moore
Maquette for Madonna and Child 1943, cast 1944–5 Detail of signature
© The Henry Moore Foundation, All Rights Reserved, DACS 2014
The signature ‘MOORE’ was inscribed on the side of the base using a sharp point, possibly into the clay model or the pre-cast wax (fig.2). The maquette is in generally good condition and has not required treatment.

Lyndsey Morgan
March 2011


The commission

Sources and development

Casting the maquettes

Moore and the Tate collection

Robert Sutton
December 2012

Revised by Alice Correia
March 2014

See Andrew Causey, The Drawings of Henry Moore, London 2010, p.114.
Walter Hussey, Patron of Art: The Revival of a Great Tradition Among Modern Artists, London 1985, p.23.
Henry Moore cited in ibid., pp.23–4.
Henry Moore cited in Donald Carroll, The Donald Carroll Interviews, London 1973, p.35, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, London 2002, p.269.
Walter Hussey, letter to Henry Moore, December 1942, cited in Hussey 1985, p.26.
Henry Moore, letter to Walter Hussey, cited in Hussey 1985, pp.26–7.
Henry Moore, letter to Walter Hussey, cited in Hussey 1985, p.27.
The pages from the sketchbook are reproduced in Ann Garrould (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 3: Complete Drawings 1940–49, Aldershot 2001, pp.190–5.
Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.106.
Moore photographed these terracotta maquettes in various groupings prior to their casting. Figs.5 and 6 illustrate eleven of the twelve models and were reproduced in Herbert Read (ed.), Henry Moore: Sculptures and Drawings, London 1944. This book would become the basis for the first volume of Moore’s catalogue raisonné, in which the same two photographs have been reproduced ever since. See David Sylvester (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 1: Complete Sculpture 1921–48, 1957, 5th edn, London 1988, p.138.
A.D.B. Sylvester, ‘The Evolution of Henry Moore’s Sculpture: I’, Burlington Magazine, vol.90, no.543, June 1948, p.158.
Henry Moore, letter to Walter Hussey, 23 June 1943, cited in Hussey 1985, pp.27–8.
Moore cited in Mary Sorrell, ‘Henry Moore’, Apollo, vol.44, November 1946, p.118.
Henry Moore cited in Church of St Matthew, Northampton, 1893–1943, Northampton 1943, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.267.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, London 1965, p.152.
Henry Moore cited in Hussey 1985, p.28.
Walter Hussey, ‘A Churchman Discusses Art in the Church’, Studio, vol.138, no.678, September 1949, p.80.
Moore 1943, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.267.
Anon., ‘Madonna Statue Causes a Sensation’, Northampton Independent, 25 February 1944, The Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Anon., ‘Madonna Statue – Experts’ Impressions’, Northampton Independent, 25 February 1944, The Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Geoffrey Grigson and Eric Newton, ‘Henry Moore’s Madonna and Child’, Architectural Review, vol.95, no.569, May 1944, p.139.
Ibid., pp.139–40.
Moore cited Sorrell 1946, p.117.
Henry Moore, letter to Walter Hussey, 26 August 1943, cited in Hussey 1985, pp.32–3.
See John and Véra Russell, ‘Conversations with Henry Moore’, Sunday Times, 17 December 1961, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, pp.47, 230.
Sorrell 1946, p.117.
Henry Moore, ‘A Sculptor Speaks’, Listener, 18 August 1937, pp.338–40, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.196.
Henry Moore, Head of the Virgin 1922–3 (The Henry Moore Foundation), http://catalogue.henry-moore.org:8080/emuseum/view/objects/asitem/search@/3/invno-asc?t:state:flow=fad5a4f3-134d-4bdf-972c-34b2a62810c0, accessed 6 March 2014.
Henry Moore cited in James Johnson Sweeny, ‘Henry Moore’, Partisan Review, March–April 1947, p.183, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.54.
Margaret Garlake, ‘Moore’s Eclecticism: Difference, Aesthetic Identity and Community in the Architectural Commissions 1938–1958’, in Jane Beckett and Fiona Russell (eds.), Henry Moore: Critical Essays, Aldershot 2003, p.174.
Christa Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work-Theory-Impact, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London 2008, p.162.
Sylvester 1988, pp.12–13.
Henry Moore, letter to Martin Butlin, 22 January 1963, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23941.
Sylvester 1988, pp.12–13. It was not until some years after the Second World War that Moore began to efficiently maintain his financial and business paperwork.
David Sylvester, ‘The Evolution of Henry Moore’s Sculpture II’, Burlington Magazine,vol.90, no.544, July 1948, p.190.
Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, 1987, revised edn, London 2003, p.183. Manson’s remark was cited by Sainsbury during an interview undertaken by Berthoud in May 1983.
Henry Moore, letter to John Rothenstein, 12 August 1944, Tate Public Records TG 1/6/36.
Minutes from Trustees Meeting, 19 April 1945, Tate Public Records TG1/3/5.
Minutes from Trustees Meeting, 15 February 1945, Tate Public Records TG 1/3/5.