Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore Letter to Raymond Coxon 1925, although dated 11 March 1924

In this heart-wrenching letter Henry Moore seeks forgiveness from his best friend Raymond Coxon for proclaiming his love to Coxon’s fiancĂ©e, Edna Ginesi. Although dated 1924, the letter was written in 1925 during Moore’s trip to Italy that year; the incorrect date, along with the unevenness of Moore’s script and his anxious, contrite tone, evince perhaps his emotional turmoil.
Moore described his love (‘I love her with every breath in my body, it’s beyond anything I ever imagined’), and pleads with Coxon to understand and accept that no harm had been done (Ginesi was in love with Coxon). The trio remained close friends, and Moore was best man at Coxon and Ginesi’s wedding in 1926.


March 11th 1924 –                       c/o Robert Lyon
                                        Via Fiesolana, 40
Dear Sven,
 You have been the best friend to me that ever a man could wish for – which makes this letter so difficult for me to write, and at the same time makes me hope that you’ll understand.
What I am going to say I was on the point of telling you several times just before I came away, but I put it off until the last day, and then made the fact of Carr being in the studio when we got there an excuse to put it off again hoping at the same time there might never be any reason to tell. You may have guessed at odd times – that I was beginning to love Gin – though perhaps not for I did my utmost not to let you or her know – I tried not to admit it to myself – for apart from all else there was the selfish fear that it might make it impossible for us all three to go on being so happy together as we have been for the last five years.
 During the last two years ever since I first realised that I was beginning to look upon Gin as more than just a girl friend – I’ve hoped dozens of times it would go – that for all our sakes it would pass, that some other girl might turn up and I’d forget her – Perhaps because of all this my feelings towards Gin have become stronger – stronger – Anyhow Sven since seeing her [end of p.1] here in Italy it has become too much for me to hold in – and I’ve told her – as coolly and level-headed as I could – and now I’m telling you – and I’m glad that at last it’s out. I ought to have told you first, and if you’d been here with me [unclear word] I should, but seeing her here again after three months absence was too much – I’m glad because everything when you get this letter will be open and honest – I believe it had to come out sometime – if I had have kept it to myself I should have had to behave very queerly, something would have happened. I don’t know.
 Sven I love her with every breath in my body, it’s beyond anything I ever imagined – I’ve been able to think of nothing else. I’ve not been able to concentrate upon anything I’ve seen since coming out – until now – what has made it so hellish for me is that she belongs to my best friend – Any rottenness I may have in me has been near to coming out this last month –
 But she loves you – and she’s the first lassie in the world – and you’re the best fellow Sven – so that if I have you both as ever as friends I’m doubly lucky – We are together in Siena but if you’d rather we weren’t then we’ll part –
 If only you were here Sven we could talk and you’d understand –
 She is in some things more grown up – she’s done some good work – She’s as grander, grander than ever – You have the kindest lassie there is, she [end of p.2] has the best of fellows in the world – if you keep each other and nothing else comes to you, then you’ll have more than I hope for –
 Try to take this letter for what I mean Sven – I wish I could talk with you instead of writing –
 She’ll be back with you in three weeks. Take care of her as I will as long as she’s with me –
 And when I get back, well however I feel then as far as you and Gin will be able to tell I shall be alright again.
 Write back as soon as you can.
 Every your chum

How to cite

Henry Moore, Letter to Raymond Coxon, 1925, although dated 11 March 1924, 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-r1145454, accessed 21 May 2024.