1956, cast c.1957–62
570 x 515 x 290 mm
Presented by the artist 1978
In an edition of 10 plus 1 artist’s copy
Technique and condition
The bronze on the head and neck has a highly modelled surface. To make this sculpture Moore would have created an initial model from which a mould was taken in which the bronze could be cast. Deep striations and marks from the thickly applied modelling material suggest that he made the original model in plaster, probably using a wire or wood armature for internal support. Some small traces of investment can be seen in crevices (fig.3), and on the back of the mount showing that the bronze was cast using the lost wax process. There are no inscriptions on the bronze.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2011, in Alice Correia, ‘Animal Head 1956, cast c.1957–62 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The various features of the head are not arranged symmetrically like those of real animals. The cheekbone on the left is much more pronounced than that on the right-hand side, emphasised by a recession behind the nostril. The line from the ridge of the nasal bone to the edge of the left cheek bone is a much steeper and longer diagonal compared to that of the right, which is much fuller and rounder. The left cheekbone extends backwards behind the eye socket and curves inwards to form the nape of the neck.
In order to cast the sculpture in bronze Moore first made a small maquette in plaster to test the three-dimensional design. When Moore was happy with how it looked the maquette was then scaled-up to a full-size plaster version (fig.7). However, Moore noted that during the scaling-up process, ‘changes will be made before going to the real, full-sized sculpture. Changes get made at all ... stages’.1 The slight differences between the maquette and the full-size plaster, such as the latter’s more pronounced nostrils, were made when Moore adjusted the forms to suit the larger size.
At first I used to have a tremendous shock going from the white plaster model to the finished bronze sculpture ... The main difference is that bronze takes on a density and weight altogether unlike plaster. Plaster has a ghost-like unreality in contrast to the solid strength of the bronze.7
Strachan identified hippopotamus-like forms in the bronze Animal Head stating, ‘the wide “snorting” (Moore’s word) nostrils, the eye placed high on the dome of the skull give it a prehistoric appearance emphasised by the hatched texture suggesting a pachyderm’.17 The curator Alan Wilkinson noted that the original plaster of Animal Head held in the Art Gallery of Ontario is an imaginative amalgamation of zoological forms and ‘might well have been given a title like Horse’s Head, Dinosaur’s Head or Head of a Prehistoric Animal’.18
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Animal Head 1956, cast c.1957–62 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www