Divided into two pieces that resemble boulders more than body parts, this reclining figure exemplifies Moore’s interest in the coalescence of human and geological imagery. The work also demonstrates his concern with the figure in space in that relationships between forms appear to change when the sculpture is viewed in the round.
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5
1963–4, cast date unknown
2375 x 3684 x 1988 mm
Inscribed ‘Moore 3/3’ and stamped with foundry mark ‘H. NOACK BERLIN’ on lower rear of torso piece
Artist’s copy aside from edition of 3
Presented by the artist 1978
Technique and condition
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, August 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
From certain angles the other piece of the sculpture appears to be comprised of two interlocking forms, but the flat surface facing the gap between the two parts of the sculpture reveals that this single unit has been sculpted so that two forms appear to project from this face at different heights and angles (fig.4). One of these extends diagonally upwards from the base in the shape of a cylinder before swelling into a bulbous mass, while the other form arches over and around it until it reaches the base. Viewed from one side of the sculpture these two forms might be deemed to represent one leg crossing another (fig.5). Although Moore’s large-scale reclining figures are usually identified as female, the gender of the figure is not stated in the title nor easily ascertained by looking at the sculpture itself.
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 probably originated from the plaster Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.3 1961 (fig.8), which was later cast in bronze. This maquette also shares a number of forms with Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.4 1961 (fig.9), in particular their leg sections, which have a similar shape and share the smooth surface that faces the torso piece. However, when seen from the side the torso section of Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.4 is rounder, forming a partially closed hollow near the base. This appears to have been rejected for the more open, upright pose of Maquette No.3. Having settled on one variation of the design, Moore would then have used the maquette as the template for his large-scale sculpture. By systematically charting and measuring specific points on its surface it was possible to enlarge the design while retaining its precise proportions. This process was probably carried out in the White Studio or, depending on the weather, in the grounds of Hoglands. Made in 1961, the date of this maquette demonstrates how Moore’s sculptures were often developed over several years, with the final full-size bronze sculpture not completed until 1964. Much of the preliminary plaster enlargement work would have been undertaken by one or more of Moore’s sculpture assistants, who in 1962–4 included Goeffrey Greetham, Robert Holding, Derek Howarth, Roland Piché, Ron Robertson-Swann, Clive Sheppard, Hylton Stockwell, Isaac Witkin and Yardini Yeheskiel.
Sources and themes
A great asset of sculpture in the round (as against relief sculpture or painting), is its possibility of an infinite number of different views, giving, in changing lights, a never ending interest and surprise. The two separated forms produce a greater variety of views from all aspects – for as you walk round the sculpture one form gets in front of the other, in ways that cannot be anticipated, resulting in many unexpected, unforeseen views. In that sense, I think these sculptures are more fully in the round than any previous work of mine. Being in two pieces the work separates itself from seeming to be only a representation of a reclining figure.11
The Henry Moore Gift and loan to Kenwood House
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, August 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www