Maquette for Family Group
127 x 98 x 63 mm
Inscribed ‘MOORE’ on leg of bench
Purchased from the artist through the Berkeley Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1945
In an edition of 7 plus 1 artist’s copy
Technique and condition
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2011, in Alice Correia, ‘Maquette for Family Group 1945 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
Maquette for Family Group depicts a man and woman seated on a low bench holding a small child between them. The woman sits to the man’s right and although she holds the bulk of the child, the man’s left arm supports the child’s legs while his right hand rests on the woman’s left shoulder (fig.1). The heads of the mother and child are spherical in shape, whereas the father’s head has been cleaved in two, and appears to represent an open mouth facing upwards. Other details also serve to differentiate the adults. The woman has small domed breasts and wears an ankle length skirt that drapes between her knees and stretches across the gap between her shins. Her legs are positioned straight out in front of her, while the man’s thin, tubular legs are positioned at a slight angle, orientated towards the woman. Unlike the woman, the man does not appear to be wearing any clothing on his lower body. Despite these differences, the poses of the two adult figures seem to mirror each other, especially in the way that the woman’s right arm and the man’s left arm both curve outwards from their shoulders in a similar arc to hold the child between them.
When viewed from the side it becomes apparent that the sculpture is not very deep (fig.2). The figures’ knees are drawn up so that their bodies appear to be folding inwards, and their torsos are unnaturally thin. In contrast, the child is chubby and rounded (fig.3). Positioned in the middle of the sculpture and held aloft by its parents, the child is the natural focal point. Discussing the arrangement of the figures, Moore identified how ‘the arms of the mother and the father [intertwine] with the child forming a knot between them, tying the three into a family unity’.1
Moore and the Tate Collection
This catalogue entry was compiled from research undertaken by Robert Sutton, Collaborative Doctoral Award student (University of York and Tate).
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Maquette for Family Group 1945 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www