Henry Moore OM, CH

Three Standing Figures

1945, cast c.1945–51

Not on display

Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Object: 230 × 116 × 102 mm
Lent from a private collection 1994
On long term loan

Catalogue entry


Three Standing Figures 1945 is a plaster cast of a maquette for a larger version of the sculpture carved in stone, which is on permanent display in Battersea Park, London. The plaster cast, like the full-size sculpture, comprises three female figures in draped clothing standing in a semi-circular formation. The central and right-hand figures stand closer to each other forming a pair while the figure on the left faces them at a slight distance (fig.1). Each figure has been modelled individually and is positioned on a shallow rectangular plaster base.1
The left-hand figure has lightly defined facial features and a bun of hair is positioned at the nape of her neck. She wears a long sleeveless tunic which is gathered in front of her navel and thighs. Her left arm is held against the side of her body, while a gap is discernable between her body and her right arm. She stands in a seemingly unnatural position with both knees bent, in contrast to the central figure, who appears to stand contrapposto with her left knee bent and the right leg straight. This figure appears to be wearing a long-sleeved cloak, open at the chest and the right shoulder. A large bundle of fabric wraps the circumference of her body around the hips. Her right elbow is bent and her forearm is positioned on her chest, holding the drapery across her breasts. Three vertical lines suggest drapery on the rear of the figure’s legs, while the only feature on the face is a single circular impression, which may represent an eye. The figure on the right shares this same single physiognomic feature, which suggests that although her body is facing inwards, she is looking out to her left. This figure’s right arm hangs by her side while her left arm, which appears to be in a sling, is positioned horizontally across her waist. A swathe of fabric wraps around her body on a diagonal, from the left hip down to the right thigh.

Origins and facture

Context and interpretation

Alice Correia
January 2014


This sculpture is identified with the number 258 in the artist’s catalogue raisonné. See David Sylvester (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 1: Complete Sculpture 1921–48, 1957, revised edn, London 1988, p.164. Although only the original terracotta and a bronze edition are listed in this volume, the two existing plaster casts are also identified with this number in Anita Feldman and Malcolm Woodward, Henry Moore: Plasters, London 2011, pp.50–1.
A.D.B. Sylvester, ‘The Evolution of Henry Moore’s Sculpture II’, Burlington Magazine, vol.90, no.544, July 1948, p.190.
Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London 1960, p.145.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, London 1965, p.169.
Ibid., p.170.
For more on the Shelter Drawings see Andrew Causey, The Drawings of Henry Moore, London 2010, p.114.
Henry Moore, ‘Sculpture in the Open Air – A Talk by Henry Moore on his Sculpture and its Placing in Open-Air Sites’, March 1955, reprinted in Philip James (ed.), Henry Moore on Sculpture, London 1966, pp.103, 108.
Kenneth Clark, Henry Moore: Drawings, London 1974, p.119.
Moore 1955, reprinted in James 1966, pp.103, 108.
Clark 1974, p.119.
Ibid., p.120.
Ibid., p.119.
Sylvester 1948, p.193.
Roger Cardinal, ‘Henry Moore: In the Light of Greece’, in Henry Moore: In the Light of Greece, exhibition catalogue, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros 2000, pp.28–9.
Moore 1955, reprinted in James 1966, pp.103, 108.
Christa Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work-Theory-Impact, exhibition catalogue, London 2008, p.135.
Grohmann 1960, p.145.
See Thierry Maulnier, ‘Towards a New Classicism’, Horizon, vol.12, no.71, November 1945, pp.301–9.
Ibid., p.309.
Sylvester 1948, p.195.
George Wingfield Digby, Meaning and Symbol in Three Modern Artists: Henry Moore, Edvard Munch, Paul Nash, London 1955, p.64.
Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, London 1959, pp.94–5.
John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1968, p.115.
Henry Moore cited in David Finn, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment, New York 1977, p.234.
Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1969, London 1970, p.22.
Sylvester 1948, p.193.
Grohmann 1960, p.145.

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