King and Queen
1952–3, cast 1957
1635 x 1385 x 845 mm
Purchased from the artist by the Friends of the Tate Gallery with funds provided by Associated Rediffusion Ltd 1959
Number 5 in an edition of 5 plus 2 artist’s copies
Technique and condition
When the plaster model was complete a mould made in a refractory material would have been taken from it in which to cast the sculpture in bronze. Large figures such as these would have been cast in pieces and then welded together at the foundry. Each weld has been filed down carefully and then textured with a series of special punches so that it blends with the surrounding surface, a process called chasing. The figures are hollow and are fixed to the bench seat with bolts. These fixings point up from the hollow interior of the bench and into the seated figures. Circular holes were drilled into the underside of the bench so that the bolts could be fixed. These holes were then filled in so that now only very faint circular marks remain to show where they were.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', November 2012, in Alice Correia, ‘King and Queen 1952–3, cast 1957 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, December 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The male figure’s shoulders are symmetrical and follow the line of an arc; the collar-bone and chest repeat the curve of the shoulders, and no bodily features such as nipples, muscles or a navel are visible on the torso suggesting that the figure is clothed. The arms are thin tubular limbs; the left arm is held slightly in front of the body and is bent at the elbow so that the left hand, with individually modelled fingers, rests in the figure’s lap (fig.3). The right arm is positioned slightly behind the body, with a slight crook in the elbow. The forearm tapers to a narrow wrist and the palm of the right hand rests flat on the side leg of the bench (fig.4).
Seen from the side and the rear it is evident that the body is very thin, and there is a recessed, concave space between the shoulder blades that extends down the spine to the waist, which is narrow and serves to emphasise the figure’s broad shoulders. The figure is curved at the hips, and the legs extend horizontally off the bench, bending at the knees. The lower half of a tunic binds the two legs together and ends three-quarters of the way down the figure’s calves. Three pleats or folds of fabric can be seen running down the front of the tunic in between the figure’s legs, which lead to naturalistically modelled human ankles and feet placed firmly on the flat bronze base.
When I was making the large version of the KING AND QUEEN, and getting to working on the hands in detail, I got a little stuck with them, and contrary to any previous practice, I felt I needed to have a model of a real hand. And so I asked my wife to come into the studio and hold her hand in the position I required – she posed for about a quarter of an hour and then said she couldn’t stay any longer as the lunch she was cooking needed her attention. I then asked Mary, my daughter who was six years old, to come and hold her hand in the position I wanted, and in this way I was helped in completing the hands of the full-size sculpture.11
When the plaster was finished it was placed outside in his garden. Given the cramped conditions of Moore’s studio it is likely that Moore placed the sculpture outside so that he could look at it from a distance without other works blocking his view. At this time Moore experimented with the inclusion of the thin rectangular frame, as found in the original maquette. However, he ultimately decided against including this frame in the final version. When asked why he had omitted it Moore reportedly told Alan Wilkinson that, ‘oh, on a larger scale, they would look as if they were keeping goal in a soccer match’.15
The full-size plaster was completed in early 1953 and sent to the foundry for casting. Moore employed the Art Bronze Foundry in London to cast the first bronze example of King and Queen. He had previously commissioned this foundry to cast his maquettes for Madonna and Child in 1943 (Tate N05600–N05603) and he continued to use their services throughout the 1950s. It is likely that Moore first came into contact with the foundry when he was Head of the Sculpture Department at Chelsea College of Art in the 1930s; the foundry was located close to the College and was regularly used by staff and students. At the foundry, the technicians would use the plaster to create a hollow mould, into which molten bronze could be poured. King and Queen was originally cast in an edition of four, plus one artist’s copy. The fifth cast, which is now owned by Tate, was made in 1957. A second artist’s cast was made in 1985 and is now in the collection of the Henry Moore Foundation.
According to the photographer David Finn, ‘Moore has always loved photographs showing the piece on the hills of Glenkiln’.52 Indeed, Moore kept a selection of photographs showing the work from a variety of viewpoints pinned to a notice board in his studio. Some of these photographs of King and Queen in situ in the Scottish landscape were reproduced in Moore’s catalogue raisonné published in 1955, and regularly featured in articles and books about the artist, including the monographs written by Herbert Read (1965), Donald Hall (1966), and John Russell (1973) among others. The experience of installing this work and other sculptures at Glenkiln encouraged Moore to place more of his work outside. In 1978 he reflected on the importance of the open sky as a backdrop for his work, and concluded that ‘sculpture – at any rate, my sculpture – is best seen in this way and not in a museum’.53 In the foreword written for David Finn’s book, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Environment (1977), the former director of the National Gallery, Kenneth Clark, wrote that ‘the supreme examples of siting Moore’s work are Tony Keswick’s placements of four pieces on his sheep farm at Glenkiln in Dumfriesshire, Scotland ... everyone who sees the works in this setting comes away deeply moved ... The siting of the Glenkiln pieces is what one might call a Wordsworthian use of sculpture’.54
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘King and Queen 1952–3, cast 1957 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, December 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www