Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop
1963, cast date unknown
1049 x 2417 x 1103 mm
Inscribed ‘Moore 0/6’ and ‘H. NOACK BERLIN’ on central foot
Presented by the artist 1978
Artist’s copy aside from edition of 6
Technique and condition
Moore would have made the original model for this sculpture by building up successive layers of wet plaster over a supportive armature, probably made using a combination of lengths of wood and scrim bandage. Close examination of the surface shows how Moore carefully created the smooth surface texture by using a range of implements from fine pointed tools to surforms or graters. On the head section a more craggy texture has been achieved by making deep gouges in the plaster.
The finished sculpture was artificially patinated to colour the surface and to help disguise welds and repairs. This process involved applying chemical solutions to the bronze that reacted with the metal to create coloured compounds. In this case the patina on both the sculpture and the base is a dark, variegated brown with reddish brown and dark green accents (figs.4 and 5), an effect that was probably achieved by applying at least three different chemical solutions in varying concentrations.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop 1963, cast date unknown by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The head of the figure does not possess any naturalistic facial features but can be recognized due to its position within the composition. It is denoted by a thin, flat shape that protrudes upwards at an angle from a diagonally orientated tubular column representing the spine, which rests on the base (fig.1). A rounded, shelf-like form, which could be shoulders, breasts or the sternum, extends horizontally towards the central section of the sculpture on which it rests, balancing at two points. The central piece is the shortest in height of the three sections but the longest in length (fig.2). Two short appendages separated by a shallow arch support one end of a thick upper surface that curves downwards elegantly from the shoulders towards the base, creating an arch underneath. At the point where it meets the base this upper surface expands in thickness before rising back upwards to create a tilted, concave top that aligns neatly with the leg section. This piece also rests on the base at three points that rise upwards to two peaks, which may be understood as knees (fig.3). In between the supporting legs are two triangular arches that seem to echo the trough carved out between the knees above and which, like the head, appear to lean towards one side.
When seen from the side, a truncated protrusion appears to jut out from behind the knees towards the central piece, accentuating the gap between these two parts (fig.4). However, from the same viewpoint it is evident that all of the pieces appear to lean forwards at a diagonal angle, unifying the individual parts in a collective directional pull. The pieces are also connected by the sweep of a continuous curved line that can be traced along the length of the figure from the head to the knee, bridging the gaps between each section.
From plaster to bronze
Sources and development
Moore made his first three-piece reclining figure in 1961–2 (fig.11). In this work, each of the three pieces are spaced apart from each other at equal intervals, whereas in Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop the head section leans on the central section (fig.12) while the legs stand alone at the other end of the composition. Importantly, the head and central sections actually interlock in a way that is reminiscent of shoulder or hip joints. Writing in 1968, the critic Donald Hall noted this feature of the work:
The Henry Moore Gift
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop 1963, cast date unknown by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www