Seated Woman: Thin Neck
172 x 814 x 1036 mm
Inscribed by the artist ‘Moore’ under the figure’s left thigh
Presented by the artist 1978
Artist’s copy aside from edition of 7
Technique and condition
Soon after it was finished the plaster sculpture was sent to the Art Bronze Foundry in London to be cast in a bronze edition of seven plus one artist’s copy. It was common practice for foundries to cut plasters of this size into sections so that smaller, more straightforward moulds could be created of individual parts. This sculpture was cut into three sections, which were then cast separately and welded together. There are visible traces of white investment in some of the sculpture’s crevices, suggesting that the three sections were cast using the traditional lost wax process (fig.3). Residues of dark sand underneath the rectangular base indicate that this section was more likely to have been cast using the sand casting technique. Horizontal weld lines can be seen traversing the figure’s lower stomach and the back of its neck (fig.4). These weld lines were textured with small chisels and punches to integrate them with the surrounding surface.
After it had been cast, assembled and cleaned the sculpture was patinated using a range of chemical solutions that reacted with the bronze to produce coloured compounds. The patina on this sculpture is formed of blue and yellowish greens, beneath which is a uniform layer of brown-black (fig.5). The darker layer was applied first, possibly using a potassium or ammonium polysulphide solution. It would have either been applied cold or with a low level of heat, which would have served to further darken the colour. Many different patina recipes can be used to produce green colours on bronze but they often contain mixtures of copper and ammonium salts. Successive layers of this solution, which appears to have been applied cold and stippled onto the surface with a brush, would have been left to dry and develop into the opaque green now visible. The yellowish green tinge may have been achieved by applying a small amount of ferric nitrate solution over the blue-green patina. The surface was then coated with clear wax to consolidate and protect the patina. This has helped to preserve its condition, although it has become slightly worn on the more exposed surfaces.
The base is reinforced underneath by a grid of horizontal and vertical cross-members and fixed to the sculpture by three bolts threaded from underneath: two on either side of the figure’s buttocks and one where its leg makes contact with the base. Moore inscribed his signature under the figure’s left thigh followed by the stamped edition number ‘0/7’, indicating that this was originally the artist’s copy (fig.6).
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', October 2011, in Alice Correia, ‘Seated Woman: Thin Neck 1961 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, October 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The thinness of the neck is at odds with the figure’s large, bulky torso (fig.2). Two large boulder-like protrusions, which may be regarded as breasts, project from the flat rear surface and are separated by a concave recession in the position of the sternum. The abdomen below consists of shallower horizontal protrusion made up of craggy surfaces and sharp edges, underscored by a semi-circular groove that runs horizontally across the width of the torso. This hinge-like recess connects to the top of the thighs, which form an almost square-shaped plate with a hole at its centre (fig.3). The right thigh extends upwards on a diagonal and is suspended in mid-air, while the left knee, fused to the right, leads down to a short stump that connects to the base. The figure’s buttocks, separated by a curved arch, also rest on the base, while another shallow arch connects the left buttock and the left knee.
Unlike the front of the sculpture the rear surface is relatively flat and uniform, resembling a thin shield-like form comparable to a tortoise shell (fig.4). This shell, which has a mottled, slightly uneven surface, is thinner around the edges and has an oval-shaped ridge that runs vertically down its centre, which gives the impression that the body is pressing against it from the other side.
From plaster to bronze
Sources and development
The Henry Moore Gift
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Seated Woman: Thin Neck 1961 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, October 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www