Henry Moore OM, CH

Three Piece Reclining Figure No.1

1961–2, cast date unknown

Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Object: 1700 x 2800 x 1370 mm
Presented by the artist 1978

Not on display

Catalogue entry


Three Piece Reclining Figure No.1 is one of two three-part sculptures created by Henry Moore between 1961 and 1963. The other sculpture, Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop 1963, is also held in the Tate collection (Tate T02292). In both cases the figure has been divided into three separate forms positioned on a base, one of which rises vertically to a central point and may be understood to represent a head and torso, which in turn implies that the smaller middle section represents an abdomen or hip area, while the section at the other end occupies the position of the legs.
The main bulk of the torso is made up of bulbous forms and irregular, faceted shapes. On the back, two large concave depressions are separated by a ridged backbone that leads up to broad, rounded shoulders. What appears to represent a head actually takes the form of a thin wedge-shaped protrusion with an uneven upper face that juts forwards and upwards from the outstretched neck (fig.1). The bottom of the torso is attached to the base at three points that form arched spaces underneath the body.
The middle piece is the smallest of the three segments. It also rests on the base at three points, two of which swell upwards in a similar way to the large lateral forms of the torso piece, forming what appear to be two distinct masses. One side of the right-hand form has a smooth, rounded surface while the other side appears to have been carved into, revealing bulbous, ridged surfaces. The left-hand form has one flat face and similar irregular surfaces traversing its other sides. The two forms appear to be joined only by a smaller, disk-like shape that protrudes outwards towards the leg section of the sculpture (fig.2).

From plaster to bronze

Sources and development

Critical reception

The Henry Moore Gift

Alice Correia
August 2013


Henry Moore cited in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, transcript of Third Programme, BBC Radio, broadcast 14 July 1963, p.18, Tate Archive TGA 200816. (An edited version of this interview was published in the Listener, 29 August 1963, pp.305–7.)
Ibid., p.29.
Henry Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.57.
Henry Moore cited in Donald Hall, ‘Henry Moore: An Interview by Donald Hall’, Horizon, November 1960, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, p.226.
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.300.
Moore cited in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, p.10, Tate Archive TGA 200816.
See Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, 1987, 2nd edn, London 2003, pp.323–4.
Henry Moore, letter to Heinz Ohff, 8 March 1967, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Henry Moore, letter to Cleeve Horne, 15 May 1962, Henry Moore Foundation Archive. Horne was acting as an intermediary for the CIBC in Montreal, Quebec, which subsequently acquired a cast of the sculpture directly from the artist.
See ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, pp.3–4, Tate Archive TGA 200816.
Ibid., pp.31–2.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.77.
[Richard Morphet], ‘T.2054 Henry Moore: Four-Piece Composition 1934’, The Tate Gallery 1976–8: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1979, p.121.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.75.
[Morphet] 1981, p.130.
Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.202.
Donald Hall, Henry Moore: The Life and Work of a Great Sculptor, London 1966, p.160.
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, London 1986, p.35.
John Russell, Henry Moore, 1968, revised edn, London 1973, p.213.
Ibid., p.213.
Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1969, London 1970, p.29.
John Read, Portrait of an Artist: Henry Moore, London 1979, p.82.
[David Thompson], ‘New Work by Henry Moore and Francis Bacon’, Times, 12 July 1963, p.5.
Bryan Robertson, ‘Moore and Bacon’, Listener, 25 July 1963, pp.127–8.
Eric Newton, ‘Power’, Guardian, 12 July 1963, p.9.
Nigel Gosling, ‘Vision and Nightmare: Art’, Observer, 14 July 1963, p.27.
Ibid., p.27.
In March 1978 Moore wrote to Tate Director Norman Reid informing him that he had to reduce the number of works in the Gift from thirty-eight to thirty-six because he had since discovered that some of the works that were initially reserved for the Tate actually belonged to his daughter Mary and so were not his to give: ‘The sculptures I am giving to the Tate number 36 in all. At some previous time the number had been given as 38, but when it came to finalise the list, it was discovered that four sculptures ... had already been given by me to my daughter, Mary, at a date previous to 1969. I mentioned this to my daughter and she very generously agreed to give up two of the works, Glenkiln Cross and Three Piece Reclining Figure No.1, to make my Tate gift a fuller representation of my work.’ Henry Moore, letter to Norman Reid, 16 March 1978, Tate Archive, TG4/6/10/4.
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.
See Judith Jeffries, letter to Joanna Drew, 3 October 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/9/400/1.

Read full Catalogue entry