Henry Moore OM, CH

Helmet Head No.4: Interior-Exterior

1963, cast date unknown

Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Object: 552 × 346 × 391 mm
Presented by the artist 1978

Display caption

Moore made a sequence of Helmet Head pieces that were intended to convey emotions of vulnerability and protection. He explained the idea partly came from ‘Wyndham Lewis talking about the shell of lobster covering the soft flesh inside. This became an established idea with me – that of an outer protection to an inner form, and it may have something to do with the mother and child idea ... The helmet is a kind of protection thing, too, and it became a recording of things inside other things. In the helmet you do not quite know what is inside.’

Gallery label, February 2010

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Catalogue entry


Helmet Head No.4: Interior-Exterior is one of a number of ‘helmet head’ sculptures made by Henry Moore between 1939 and 1986, all of which contain an indeterminate element enclosed within a hollow outer form. In the case of this sculpture, a shiny golden object can be seen occupying the interior of a green, telescope-like tubular form through rounded openings at the front. Although both elements are made of bronze, Moore has distinguished them as singular forms by using contrasting techniques to model and finish each one.

The outer element takes the form of an upright tubular column, extending upwards from the bronze base before curving forwards at a right angle (fig.1). The form swells at this point making it appear top heavy, although it begins to narrow as it projects towards the front where it terminates abruptly in a rounded opening that reveals the interior to be hollow. Another opening has been made directly below it in the thinner, more upright section of the column, although this hole is smaller and more square-shaped (fig.2).
It is only through the two openings in the outer component that the interior element is visible. Tall, thin and formed of smoothed curves, it is positioned vertically inside the sculpture. At its apex, visible only through the upper-most hole, it appears to curl abruptly towards the opening, but closer inspection reveals that it consists of two separate interlocking elements (fig.3). The tall vertical piece has a groove in its upper edge, into which has been placed a flatter, horizontally orientated piece with angular edges and a spherical knob protruding from its upward-facing side. Both internal pieces are smooth and highly polished. They are golden in colour and, although they have not been artificially patinated, they have been coated in a protective lacquer. Evidence of this coating can be identified in streak marks left by the brush used to apply the lacquer. The upper, seemingly balanced piece is attached to the inside of the domed swelling at two discernable points, and looks to have been soldered.

From plaster to bronze

Sources and development

Critical reception

The Henry Moore Gift

Alice Correia
October 2013


Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, London 1968, p.300.
Henry Moore at Perry Green, London 2011, p.17.
Henry Moore: One Yorkshireman Looks at His World, dir. by John Read, BBC television programme, first broadcast on BBC2, 11 November 1967, http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/henrymoore/8807.shtml, accessed 3 November 2013.
For an explanatory video on the lost wax casting technique see http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/sculpture-techniques/, accessed 17 October 2013.
Henry Moore cited in David Sylvester, Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1968, pp.3–4.
See Richard Calvocoressi, ‘T.2291, Helmet Head No.4: Interior-Exterior 1963’, in The Tate Gallery 1978–80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981, p.133.
Henry Moore in conversation with David Mitchinson, 1980, transcript reproduced in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, p.213.
Henry Moore cited in Michael Chase, ‘Moore on his Methods’, Christian Science Monitor, 24 March 1967, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.214.
Julian Stallabrass, ‘Darkness in the Shelter’, in Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao 1990. Text published in Basque and Spanish. For English version see http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/people/stallabrass_julian/PDF/Bilbao.pdf, accessed 22 October 2013.
Moore cited in Chase 1967, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.214.
Andrew Causey, The Drawings of Henry Moore, London 2010, p.98.
Sylvester 1968, p.85.
See Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London 1960, and Chris Stephens (ed.), Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2010.
Moore cited in Chase 1967, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.214.
Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, London 1959, p.100.
Ian Dejardin, ‘Square Forms and Heads’, in Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery, exhibition catalogue, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 2004, pp.97–8.
John Russell, Henry Moore, New York 1968, pp.117–18.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of His Life and Work, London 1965, p.238.
Kenneth Clark, Henry Moore: Drawings, London 1974, p.227.
Ibid., p.228.
Julian Andrews, ‘Helmet Head No.1’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.226.
Anon., ‘Bacon and Moore Again in Powerful Relation’, Times, 14 July 1965, p.15.
G.S. Whittet, ‘Farewell to Flat, Goodbye to Square: London Commentary’, Studio International, October 1965, p.169.
Ibid., p.170.
Bryan Robertson, ‘Behind the Pulpit’, Spectator, 13 August 1965, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
For Reclining Mother and Child 1960–1 see http://www.walkerart.org/collections/artworks/reclining-mother-and-child, accessed 31 October 2013.
Henry Moore, ‘Preface’, in Helmet Head Lithographs, Geneva 1975, unpaginated.
Sir John Rothenstein, letter to Henry Moore, 14 August 1964, Tate Archive TGA 8726/3/11.
See ‘Note on the Henry Moore Gift’, 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
Norman Reid, letter to Mary Danowski, 31 August 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
See Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 3: Sculpture and Drawings 1955–64, 1965, revised edn, London 1986, p.58.

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