Henry Moore OM, CH

Seated Woman: Thin Neck


Not on display

Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Object: 1702 × 813 × 1035 mm, 386kg
Presented by the artist 1978

Display caption

This sculpture was enlarged from a smaller version, part of which, the 'thin neck' of the title, was inspired by the breast bone of a bird. Moore wrote 'Since my student days I have liked the shape of bones and have drawn them, studied them in the Natural History Museum, found them on seashores and saved them out of the stewpot. There are many structural and sculptural principles to be learnt from bones, e.g. that inspite of their lightness they have great strength'. Moore stated that the thin head and neck in this work 'by contrast with the width and bulk of the body, give more monumentality to the work.'

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry


Seated Woman: Thin Neck 1961 is a bronze sculpture of a seated female figure, rendered schematically with no arms and truncated legs, mounted on a bronze base. The head takes the form of a triangular wedge attached to a long and exceptionally thin, blade-like neck, from which the work gets its title, and looks upwards and over the figure’s left shoulder (fig.1). The thin front plane of the face narrows from the crown to the chin, while the flat sides of the head are devoid of facial markings or features.

The thinness of the neck is at odds with the figure’s large, bulky torso (fig.2). Two large boulder-like protrusions, which may be regarded as breasts, project from the flat rear surface and are separated by a concave recession in the position of the sternum. The abdomen below consists of shallower horizontal protrusion made up of craggy surfaces and sharp edges, underscored by a semi-circular groove that runs horizontally across the width of the torso. This hinge-like recess connects to the top of the thighs, which form an almost square-shaped plate with a hole at its centre (fig.3). The right thigh extends upwards on a diagonal and is suspended in mid-air, while the left knee, fused to the right, leads down to a short stump that connects to the base. The figure’s buttocks, separated by a curved arch, also rest on the base, while another shallow arch connects the left buttock and the left knee.

Unlike the front of the sculpture the rear surface is relatively flat and uniform, resembling a thin shield-like form comparable to a tortoise shell (fig.4). This shell, which has a mottled, slightly uneven surface, is thinner around the edges and has an oval-shaped ridge that runs vertically down its centre, which gives the impression that the body is pressing against it from the other side.

From plaster to bronze

Sources and development

The Henry Moore Gift

Alice Correia
October 2013


See Henry Moore: Large Late Forms, exhibition catalogue, Gagosian Gallery, London 2012, p.34
Henry Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.123.
John Read in Henry Moore: One Yorkshireman Looks at His World, dir. by John Read, television programme, broadcast BBC 2, 11 November 1967, http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/henrymoore/8807.shtml, accessed 3 November 2013.
Henry Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, transcript of Third Programme, broadcast BBC Radio, 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.)
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 3: Sculpture and Drawings 1955–64, 1965, revised edn, London 1986, p.46.
Elizabeth Brown, ‘Moore Looking: Photography and the Presentation of Sculpture’, in Dorothy Kosinski (ed.), Henry Moore: Sculpting the 20th Century, exhibition catalogue, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas 2001, p.290.
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.266.
See Richard Wentworth, ‘The Going Concern: Working For Moore’, Burlington Magazine, vol.130, no.1029, December 1988, p.928.
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.
Henry Moore cited in Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture: A Collection of the Sculptor’s Writings and Spoken Words, London 1966, p.278.
See John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.159
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.358.
Ibid., p.233.
Moore cited James 1966, p.278.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, London 1965, pp.243–4.
Anon., ‘Mr Moore’s New Bronzes: An Experimental Phase’, Times, 15 February 1954, p.4.
Nigel Gosling, ‘Vision and Nightmare: Art’, Observer, 14 July 1963, p.27.
[David Thompson], ‘New Work by Henry Moore and Francis Bacon’, Times, 12 July 1963, p.5.
Gosling 1963, p.27.
Ibid., p.27.
Bryan Robertson, ‘Moore and Bacon’, Listener, 25 July 1963, pp.127–8.
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.

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