Henry Moore OM, CH

Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop

1963, cast date unknown

Not on display

Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Object: 1160 × 2520 × 1320 mm, 895 kg
Presented by the artist 1978

Display caption

Moore often used natural objects as sources for his sculptures. He kept boxes of bones, flints, and shells close at hand in his studio. The shape of this sculpture, and the way it interlocks, seem to be derived from bones and joints. Even at their most abstract, his work has an organic quality. Moore commented: ‘The observation of nature is part of an artist's life, it enlarges his form [and] knowledge, keeps him fresh ... and feeds inspiration.’

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry


Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop was made in 1963 and comprises three separate bronze segments positioned on a bronze base that together may be understood to represent a reclining human figure. The tallest section appears to represent a head and neck, implying that the smaller central section represents a torso, while the third section in the arrangement occupies the position of the figure’s legs. Although the gender of the figure is unspecified, Moore’s multi-piece reclining figures are usually regarded as female. This sculpture is the second in a series of three-piece works created during the 1960s, and is closely related to the earlier Three Piece Reclining Figure No.1 1961–2 (Tate T02289).

The head of the figure does not possess any naturalistic facial features but can be recognized due to its position within the composition. It is denoted by a thin, flat shape that protrudes upwards at an angle from a diagonally orientated tubular column representing the spine, which rests on the base (fig.1). A rounded, shelf-like form, which could be shoulders, breasts or the sternum, extends horizontally towards the central section of the sculpture on which it rests, balancing at two points. The central piece is the shortest in height of the three sections but the longest in length (fig.2). Two short appendages separated by a shallow arch support one end of a thick upper surface that curves downwards elegantly from the shoulders towards the base, creating an arch underneath. At the point where it meets the base this upper surface expands in thickness before rising back upwards to create a tilted, concave top that aligns neatly with the leg section. This piece also rests on the base at three points that rise upwards to two peaks, which may be understood as knees (fig.3). In between the supporting legs are two triangular arches that seem to echo the trough carved out between the knees above and which, like the head, appear to lean towards one side.

From plaster to bronze

Sources and development

Critical reception

The Henry Moore Gift

Alice Correia
March 2014


Albert Elsen, ‘Henry Moore’s Reflections on Sculpture’, Art Journal, vol.26, no.4, Summer 1967, p.355.
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 Listener, 29 August 1963, pp.305–7).
Henry Moore cited in Mervyn Levy, ‘Henry Moore: Sculpture Against the Sky’, Studio International, vol.167, no.853, May 1964, p.179.
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, Henry Moore, London 1968, p.300.
For information on Corinthian Bronze Co. Ltd see ‘British Bronze Sculpture Founders and Plaster Figure Makers, 1800–1980’, http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/british-bronze-founders-and-plaster-figure-makers-1800-1980-1/british-bronze-founders-and-plaster-figure-makers-1800-1980-c.php, accessed 5 August 2013.
See Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, 1987, 2nd edn, London 2003, p.323–4.
Henry Moore, letter to Heinz Ohff, 8 March 1967, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 1963, pp.3–4.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.75.
Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 1963, pp.31–2.
Donald Hall, ‘Foreword’, in David Finn and Donald Hall, As the Eye Moves... A Sculpture by Henry Moore, New York 1970, p.17.
Henry Moore cited in John Russell, Henry Moore, 1968, revised edn, London 1973, p.48.
See Alice Correia, ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960, cast 1961–2 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research/content/1171982?project=4, accessed 21 April 2015.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, London 1965, p.234.
David Sylvester, Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1968, p.94.
Henry Moore cited in Finn and Hall 1970, p.16.
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, pp.169.
Bryan Robertson, ‘Behind the Pulpit’, Spectator, 13 August 1965, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
William Tucker, ‘Moore at the Tate’, Studio International, vol.176, no.904, October 1968, p.124.
Moore cited in Finn and Hall 1970, p.10.
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.
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, sales catalogue, Sotheby’s, London, 8 February 2012, lot 33, http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2012/impressionist-modernt-art-evening-sale-l12002/lot.33.html, accessed 5 August 2013.

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