Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore Letter to Sir Kenneth Clark 15 March 1939

Henry Moore 'Letter to Sir Kenneth Clark' 15 March 1939
Henry Moore
Letter to Sir Kenneth Clark 15 March 1939
Tate Archive TGA 8812/1/2/2032
Moore discusses here arrangements for the transport of Recumbent Figure 1938 (Tate N05387) to New York for display in the British Pavilion at the World’s Fair. Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery, had selected the works for the show, organised under the auspices of the British Council. He was particularly anxious to ensure that the art handlers were always aware of how to handle the sculpture: it had been made from three layers of Hornton stone, dowelled and cemented together, and needed to be lifted from the bottom.

Transcript

[Handwritten:]
                                   11A Parkhill Road.
                                   N.W.3
                                   15th March 39.
Dear Sir Kenneth,
 I’m enclosing a photograph of the Recumbent Figure for the architect. I think if the base for it is just simple rectangle, 3ft 3ins high by 4ft 6ins wide, it should be alright.
[Drawing of the rectangular base.]
 
One thing I forgot to ask you about last night, concerning the transport of the figure to and from New York – which is, that because the stone the figure is carved in (Hornton Stone) can only be quarried in limited thickness, the figure had to be made of three horizontal layers of stone, which are dowelled and cemented together. It’s perfectly sound to do that, because the stones are laid on the natural beds, as they should be in ordinary building – But it means that it moving it about it should not be lifted except from the bottom, so that there’s no risk of any separating ... I meant to ask you who I ought to tell this to, so that whenever it’s moved, that is remembered. I told the transport people about it, who fetched it from Chermayeff’s. But I will telephone now to Robert Wellington to tell him about it, so that instructions might go with the figure about this, for when it is moved in New York.
 
I’m also enclosing photos I took of some of your drawings, for if you’d care to name them.
 
We enjoyed last night immensely. I hope you’ll quickly get better from your flu.
 
With best wishes to you both
              Yours
                   Henry.

How to cite

Henry Moore, Letter to Sir Kenneth Clark, 15 March 1939, 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-sir-kenneth-clark-r1145465, accessed 21 April 2019.