Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore Letter to Raymond Coxon and Edna Ginesi (Peacham & Gin) 14 September 1937

During the 1930s Moore and his wife Irina, known familiarly as Nitchka, would spend their summer holidays in the country away from London. They bought Jasmine Cottage at Barfreston, near Dover, in 1931 and spent weekends and holidays there. They sold this in 1935 and bought a modern bungalow with five acres of wild meadow in Burcroft, near Canterbury, which they kept until 1940. This letter to Raymond Coxon and Edna Ginesi was one in a series of almost annual summer letters in which Moore bemoaned the end of the holidays and the necessity to return to London and his teaching duties.
It covered a number of subjects, from Edna’s impending operation to remove her tonsils to Moore’s anecdote about saving a drowning woman. It also revealed Moore’s early use of assistants to help him move and face stone. ‘Before the holidays began I went up to Derbyshire and bought 2 tons of Hoptonwood stone. – it took the boy and me, best part of the first fortnight he was here, squaring up a face on each of them, making concrete blocks to stand them on in one corner of the field, and getting them up – when they were up it looked a little like a miniature Stonehenge, still does and will do for a year or two until they’re all carved.

Transcript

[Handwritten:]
14/9/37.
                                   Burcroft – Kingston
                                   Nr. Canterbury – Kent.
Dear Peacham and Gin,
 Only 9 days to go before I’m back at Chelsea (blast it) and you’ll be back there before me – But I expect you are now back at Hammersmith Terrace, and so already being in London, Chelsea won’t seem so hard to you – but the weather these holidays has been so marvellous I dislike the idea of coming back more than ever.
 We’re sorry to hear about you having to have your tonsils out Gin. Perhaps you’ve already seen the specialist, and it’s all over, I hope so and that you’re recovering fast. Are you at home, or in hospital, or a nursing home. It did Nitchka a lot of good when she had hers out, though it took her a little [end of p.1] while, 3 or 4 months, to get over the operation and start really feeling the benefit.
 We thought you might not have got our p.c. at the beginning of the holidays, that you might have already left Sussex – we couldn’t guess that Gin was having to see a specialist. It’s bad luck, but Nitchka says from her experience it wasn’t so bad and that she’s had no bad throats and colds since.
 I can’t tell from your letter whether you enjoyed Wales very much this time or not, but it sounds as though you enjoyed Sussex. We’ve had a good time. Nitchka’s gardened continually and I’ve carved out of doors practically all the time, except for one or two passing showers (thought it’s poured down the last day or two). We had the student from Norwich here again for a month or so, [end of p.2] helping me with roughing out etc., and I’ve done quite a good summer’s work – before the holidays began, I went up to Derbyshire and bought two tons of Hopton Wood stone, - it took the boy and me, best part of the first fortnight he was here, squaring up a face on each of them, making concrete blocks to stand them on, in one corner of the field, and getting them up – When they were up it looked a little like a miniature Stonehenge, still does and will do for a year or two until they’re all carved.
 We had my mother staying with us for a month – she’s very well and enjoyed herself and went back to Mary’s looking very fit – We had the local builder put in an extra window and connect up two rooms by knocking down part of a wall, and it’s improved the inside [end of p.3] of the house a lot, and it looks a bit better outside as well, because we’ve had it painted white. If Gin is well enough, what about coming here for a weekend after Chelsea has started and before the autumn really begins?
 We’re still bathing; on the average we’ve bathed two or three times every week, – the other day, at Reculver, I saved a drowning woman. We’d just bathed and were still in our bathing costumes, eating lunch of sandwiches when there was a shout for help, from the breakwater division, and it wasn’t until I was swimming back with her, (just as I’d seen it done in demonstrations!) that I realised I was still chewing a mouthful of sandwich.
 Well, see you a week this Thursday. Our love to both of you, and hope Gin you are getting on fine.
Harry and Nitchka

How to cite

Henry Moore, Letter to Raymond Coxon and Edna Ginesi (Peacham & Gin), 14 September 1937, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/henry-moore-letter-to-raymond-coxon-and-edna-ginesi-peacham-amp-gin-r1145446, accessed 25 April 2019.