Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore OM, CH Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963-4, cast date unknown

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.
Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
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


Henry Moore 'Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5' 1963–4, cast date unknown
Henry Moore
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Made in 1963–4, Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 is the fifth work in a series of two-piece sculptures that Moore began in 1959 and developed throughout the 1960s. It comprises two separate bronze forms attached to a bronze base that together represent a reclining human figure, although the boulder-like shapes of the forms, coupled with their separation, render this identification problematic (fig.1).
The vertically orientated form contains more elements identifiable with the human body, most notably an upright protrusion that occupies the position of a head, which features two flat sides separated by a vertical ridge akin to a nose (fig.2). The central mass of this section of the body is thin and long, although bulbous forms emerge from the area just below the head and may denote shoulders or breasts, although on one side these forms contain oval-shaped depressions. Two truncated appendages made up of flat and rounded faces project outwards from the central body at different angles into the gap between the two separate pieces of the sculpture and may be regarded as limbs (fig.3).
Detail of upper body of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown (side view)
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Detail of upper body of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown (rear view)
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

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.
Detail of leg section of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Detail of leg section of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

From plaster to bronze
Henry Moore 'Two Piece Reclining Figure' 1959
Henry Moore
Two Piece Reclining Figure 1959
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Moore began developing ideas for two-piece reclining figures in 1959 with a series of small plaster maquettes. By this time Moore had moved away from making preliminary drawings for his sculptures but some designs on paper did support and supplement his three-dimensional models even if they did not determine their eventual form. For example, the torso section of Two Piece Reclining Figure 1959 (fig.6) seems to anticipate the torso section of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5, especially the oval area in the neck and the extended leg.
Flint pebbles arranged in Henry Moore's studio
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Moore most likely made the maquette for Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 in the small studio in the grounds of his home, Hoglands, at Perry Green in Hertfordshire. Formerly the village shop, the building was used by Moore in the 1950s and 1960s for creating small sculptures and was lined with shelves that housed his ever growing collection of found objects. These included bones, shells and flint stones, and together made up what Moore called his ‘library of natural forms’.1 Moore often integrated shapes and textures from these objects into his designs and frequently used a single form across multiple works. Moore sought out potential figurative associations in these natural objects, as a photograph of three flint stones assembled in a configuration loosely redolent of a reclining figure in Moore’s studio demonstrates (fig.7). In 1967 Moore explained that ‘when I study a bone, I look for its human implications’.2 He explained to the critic David Sylvester how he worked with his stones, bones and shells:
I look at them, handle them, see them from all round, and I may press then into clay and pour plaster into that clay and get a start as a bit of plaster, which is a reproduction of the object. And then add to it, change it. In that sort of way something turns out in the end that you could never have thought of the day before. This to me now is the beauty of each day if one’s working – that by the end of it you might have had something happen that you couldn’t possibly have foreseen.3
Moore made numerous maquettes for two-piece sculptures between 1959 and 1964, sometimes making only very slight alterations between each. Moore explained:
Sometimes I make ten or twenty maquettes for every one that I use in a large scale – the others may get rejected. If a maquette keeps its interest enough for me to want to realise it as a full-size final work, then I might make a working model in an intermediate size, in which changes will be made before going to the real, full-sized sculpture. Changes get made at all these stages.4
Henry Moore 'Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.3' 1961
Henry Moore
Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.3 1961
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Alice Correia
Henry Moore 'Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.4' 1961
Henry Moore
Two Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No.4 1961
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive

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.
Photograph of plaster version of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4 in Moore's studio
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
In order to make the full-size plaster from which the bronze was cast, Moore and his assistants would have initially constructed an armature to the required size and rough shape for each section of the sculpture. The armature would have been made up of numerous lengths of wood and then draped in scrim, a bandage like fabric. Layers of plaster could be applied to the structure, while the interior of the armature remained hollow. Moore’s assistants would have applied and built up layers of plaster over the armature and scrim until only a short section of each armature rod was exposed (fig.10).
The armature did not only serve a structural purpose; the end of each rod corresponded to a point on the surface of the sculpture as measured and multiplied from the maquette. Moore explained that ‘once they [the assistants] have brought the work within an inch or so of the measurements I intend it to be, I take it over, and then it becomes a thing I’m working on as it would if I had brought it to that stage myself’.5 During the final stage of working on the plaster Moore began to work into the surface of the sculpture. Different marks and textures could be achieved depending on the varying wetness of the plaster as it dried. Moore found plaster to be a very useful material because it could be ‘both built up, as in modeling, or cut down, in the way you carve stone or wood’.6
Detail of surface texture of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
The surface of the plaster was captured in the casting process and an examination of the bronze surface of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 shows how Moore developed a range of textures using a number of different tools including fine points, graters and spatulas (fig.11). Fine horizontal lines texture the upper surface of the leg piece while deep gouges under the knees contribute to a weathered effect.
Photograph of completed full-size plaster version of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Moore applied colour to the surface of the full-size plaster when it was complete (fig.12) because, as he explained to the critic David Sylvester in 1963, the reflective qualities of white plaster could lend the sculpture an appearance that would be radically different when cast in bronze.7 Plaster could cast reflected light onto the underside and recessed areas of sculptures, whereas in bronze these areas would appear far darker. Painting the plaster thus allowed Moore to predict the contrast between different areas of the sculpture’s surface before sending it to the foundry.
The finished full-size plaster was sent to the Noack Foundry in West Berlin to be cast in bronze. During the 1950s and early 1960s Moore used a number of different foundries in London and Paris, but started working with Noack in 1958 following an introduction by the dealer Harry Fischer.8 By the 1950s the Noack Foundry was regarded as one of the best foundries equipped to undertake large-scale bronze castings. Moore dealt with its owner Herman Noack directly and paid for the casting of his sculptures himself. In 1967 Moore stated: ‘I use the Noack foundry for casting most of my work because in my opinion, Noack is the best bronze founder I know ... Also, the Noack foundry is reliable in all ways – in keeping to dates of delivery – and in sustaining the quality of their work’.9
Detail of welding seam on Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
It is unclear whether the lost wax or sand casting method was used to cast this bronze sculpture. In either case, the foundry technicians would have needed to carve up the plaster original into smaller pieces from which moulds could be taken. These moulds would then have been filled with molten bronze. Once the bronze had hardened it could be removed to reveal one section of the sculpture. These would have to be welded together and the seams filed down until the joints between each section of the cast were practically imperceptible. However, casting seams sometimes become more prominent over time because of differences between the composition of the bronze and the metal used to weld the sections together. A horizontal seam can be seen on the shoulder area of the torso piece of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 (fig.13).
Detail of patina on Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4, cast date unknown
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
After it was reassembled at the foundry the bronze sculpture was returned to Moore so that he could inspect its quality and make decisions about its patination. A patina is the surface colour of a sculpture and is usually achieved by applying chemical solutions to the bronze surface. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin and the patina of bronze sculptures displayed outdoors changes over time due to reactions between the metal and chemicals in the air. Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 currently has a dark brown patina, overlaid with green shades that have probably developed over time (fig.14). In 1963 Moore stated that ‘I always patinate bronze myself’, going on to explain that since he had conceived the sculpture it would be unlikely that anyone else would be able to replicate the exact colour he wanted.10 However, Noack is known to have patinated a certain number of Moore’s sculptures at the foundry. But in these instances Moore was still able to adjust the patina when the sculpture was returned to the studio.

Sources and themes

Henry Moore OM, CH 'Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2' 1960, cast 1961-2
Henry Moore OM, CH
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960, cast 1961–2
Tate T00395
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
The reclining figure pose had preoccupied Moore for much of his career, and the vertically orientated torso and horizontally orientated legs of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 can be seen in previous examples of the subject, including Recumbent Figure 1938 (Tate N05387) and Draped Reclining Woman 1957–8 (Tate T06825). From 1959 and into the 1960s Moore began to systematically divide his reclining figures into two and three pieces, as seen in Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2 1960 (Tate T00395) (fig.15). In 1961 he explained to the Tate curator Martin Butlin:
In 1933 and 1934 I made many sculptures composed of two, three and sometimes four pieces. They were done partly to concentrate on the distances between forms – but also to consider the shape of the spaces between forms. In doing these Reclining Figure sculptures (No.1 in 1959 and No.2 in 1960), it came naturally and without any conscious decision, that I made them in two separate pieces – the head-and-body end – and the leg-end. In both sculptures I realised that I was simplifying the essential elements of my reclining figure theme ... In many of my reclining figures the head-and-neck part of the sculpture, sometimes the torso part too, is upright, giving contrast to the horizontal direction of the whole sculpture. Also in my reclining figures, I have often made a sort of looming leg – the top leg in the sculpture projecting over the lower leg, which gives a sense of thrust and power – as a large branch of a tree might move outwards from the main trunk – or as a seaside cliff might overhang from below, if you are on the beach.
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
Henry Moore 'Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Centre)' 1963–5, cast date unknown
Henry Moore
Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Centre) 1963–5, cast date unknown
Tate T02295
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 is both a continuation and development of these earlier ideas and forms, and is directly related to Working Model for Reclining Figure (Lincoln Center) 1963–5 (Tate T02295) (fig.16). In December 1961 Moore was approached to create a large-scale sculpture for a site in front of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre and Library Building at the Lincoln Center, New York. This commission gave Moore an opportunity to explore the potential of the reclining figure on a much larger scale. However, sometime prior to receiving the Lincoln Centre commission, one of its principle architects, Philip Johnson, had approached Moore to create a sculpture for his Seagram building, near to the Lincoln Centre. Between 1962 and 1963 Moore therefore found himself working on two large reclining figures destined for New York. This explains why Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was initially known as Reclining Figure No.5 (Seagram) and the example of the sculpture held in the collection of the Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek is still known by that title.12 Although Johnson was keen for the two large sculptures to be positioned in close proximity, according to Moore’s biographer Roger Berthoud another of the Lincoln Center’s architects, Gordon Bunshaft, ‘persuaded the sculptor that Johnson’s idea of two Moores balancing each other by the Seagram building would make them look like a candelabra’.13 Moore withdrew from the Seagram commission but continued working on the second reclining figure; in the artist’s catalogue raisionné the sculpture is identified as an ‘alternative project for the Lincoln Center Sculpture’.14 The Seagram sculpture was never created on the monumental scale for which it was designed, and the large working model was cast in bronze.
Moore rarely made sculptures specifically for a new project or commission. Instead he would invite the commissioning parties to choose from a selection of maquettes or mid-sized working models already in development. In this way Moore was able to develop his sculpture to his own specifications without having to modify his vision for others. By the time Moore began work on Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 he had already completed four two-piece reclining figures and had amassed numerous maquettes and drawings that explored the spatial potential of dividing the human figure into multiple parts.
Henry Moore 'Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure' 1934
Henry Moore
Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure 1934
Tate T02054
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
In his 1961 statement Moore acknowledged that although his first bronze two-piece reclining figure was made in 1959, his interest in broken or dismembered figures stemmed back to the early 1930s. One of Moore’s best known sculptures from that period is Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure 1934 (Tate T02054) (fig.17), in which the reclining figure is separated into four distinct components spread out along a plinth. Writing in 1959, the psychologist Erich Neumann regarded Moore’s fragmentation of the body in Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure as an example of the de-humanisation of the human form.15 However, in 1968 Moore explained that with this work ‘I began separating forms from each other in order to be able to relate space and form together’.16 Moore similarly focused on this spatial dimension when discussing his two-piece sculptures of the 1960s. Tate curator Richard Morphet recorded that during a conversation held with Moore on 12 December 1980 ‘about both the two-and three-piece reclining figures, Moore was at pains to stress his concern with the interdependence of space and proportion’.17
Moore also found that dividing the body into separate components released it from the immediate constraints of naturalistic representation. In pieces, the body could be more easily modified to incorporate and suggest foreign forms, such as geological formations and landscapes. Moore’s interest in landscapes and natural forms dates back to the late 1920s when he started collecting pebbles, shells and bones, and his sketchbooks from the early 1930s contain studies of these objects that have been altered to evoke human characteristics. Moving to Hoglands in 1941 allowed Moore’s collection of natural forms to grow, and he developed a particular interest in the flint stones ploughed up in the adjoining farmer’s field. Arranging and displaying these stones in his studio, Moore developed what he called a ‘form-knowledge’ of naturally occurring shapes, which he was then able to utilise imaginatively in his sculptural work.
The critic Donald Hall proposed in 1966 that, in addition to Moore’s sculptures from the 1930s, the forms of Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 may have been informed by the shape of Adel Crag, a large outcrop of rock on Adel Moor, near Leeds. Hall described this natural formation as comprising ‘two huge rocks ... one is narrow and vertical; the other is split, enormous and jagged’, and suggested that it was difficult to look at Adel Crag without seeing a Henry Moore sculpture.18 Moore had visited the rock formation as a child and claimed that the experience left an indelible mark on his appreciation of natural forms.19
Moore’s preoccupation with the reclining female figure has been explained by numerous critics as an attempt to present an archetypal, or original and universally legible representation of the human form.20 Although the critic Albert Elsen observed that Moore was not comfortable with the term ‘archetype’ being applied to his work, Moore nonetheless agreed that he sought to create work that was universally recognisable.21 He recalled that, ‘There are fundamental ideas of shape or form that are natural to humans. These are not philosophical ideas I am dealing with. It’s the way we are made as people. It is comparing yourself with what you are making. The human figure is fundamentally the same’.22 This concern for the universality inherent in certain forms, and particularly those anchored in an understanding of the human body, concurred with the concept of transcendental universalism advocated by Moore’s life-long supporter and collaborator Herbert Read. In 1953 Read noted that ‘in modern Europe we cannot avoid certain humanitarian preoccupations ... The modern sculptor, therefore, more naturally seeks to interpret human form’.23 However, Read asserted that Moore distinguished himself from his contemporaries by relating ‘the human form to certain universal forms which may be found in nature’.24 By uniting features of the human body and natural forms, Moore was able to break free from what Read saw as the ‘false imprisonment’ of mimetic representation. Read supported his interpretation with Moore’s 1934 statement, originally published in Unit One:
Because a work of does not aim at reproducing natural appearances it is not, therefore, an escape from life – but may be a penetration into reality, not a sedative or drug, not just the exercise of good taste, the provision of pleasant shapes and colours in a pleasing combination, not a decoration to life, but an expression of the significance of life, a stimulation to greater effort of living.25
These beliefs underpinned Moore’s later work and anticipated his comment, made in 1967, that when looking for human resonances in natural forms ‘taste is not the guide. I’m not interested in the niceties of a shape’.26 By breaking down the body into distinct parts derived from natural forms, Moore sought to identify the figure with the earth, and humanity with its environment, expressing their union in an ‘organic whole’.27
Prior to entering the Tate collection Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was exhibited at the Sculpture in the Open Air exhibition at Battersea Park, London, in 1966. Moore had exhibited in each of the six open air sculpture exhibitions held in London since 1948, believing that ‘sculpture is an art of the open air; daylight – sunlight is necessary to it, and for me its best setting and complement is nature’.28 Writing in the exhibition catalogue, the curator Alan Bowness characterised Moore as an elder statesman among the younger exhibiting artists, noting that the younger generation, which included Anthony Caro, ‘do not share the same attitude to nature, and would on the whole prefer an urban and less a landscape setting – a bombed site rather than a garden’.29 Nonetheless, Bowness asserted that Moore’s attempt to penetrate reality through non-naturalistic forms had become a basic tenet of contemporary sculpture.
Henry Moore 'Two Reclining Figures' 1961
Henry Moore
Two Reclining Figures 1961
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Menor, Henry Moore Foundation Archive
In the exhibition catalogue for Moore’s retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1968, the curator David Sylvester suggested an additional lens through which to interpret Moore’s two-piece reclining figures. Sylvester asserted that ‘on the whole this series presents by far the most specifically sexual imagery in Moore’s work’, explaining that what Moore described as a looming leg or tree branch could in fact be understood as a phallus.30 Sylvester supported his claim with reference to a drawing made by Moore in 1961 called Two Reclining Figures (fig.18), which features a sketch in the lower half of the page that Sylvester associated with the act of fellatio: ‘the lower half is a huge mouth opened wide to receive an inexplicably elongated form sticking out of the torso’.31

The Henry Moore Gift and loan to Kenwood House

Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 1963–4 on display on the lawn during the exhibition The Henry Moore Gift, Tate Gallery in 1978
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was presented by Henry Moore to the Tate Gallery in 1978 as part of the Henry Moore Gift. The Gift comprised thirty-six sculptures in bronze, marble and plaster and was exhibited in its entirety alongside Tate’s existing collection of Moore’s work in an exhibition celebrating the artist’s eightieth birthday, which opened in June 1978. A press release was duly prepared announcing that ‘The group [of sculptures] is the most substantial gift of works ever given to the Tate by an artist during his lifetime’.32 Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was included in the exhibition and was displayed on the lawn in front of the gallery along with four other sculptures (fig.19). The exhibition was attended by over 20,500 people and nearly 11,000 copies of the catalogue were sold.33 At its close in late August the Director of Tate, Norman Reid, reflected in a letter to Moore’s daughter Mary Danowski that although he was sad to see the exhibition come to an end ‘we have the consolation of the splendid group of sculptures which Henry has presented to the nation’.34
After the exhibition closed the sculpture was returned to Moore’s studio so that it could be fitted to a new bronze base. However, by January 1981 Tate’s conservator noted that this base was not strong enough to support the two bronze pieces, reporting that rainwater was collecting around the bottom of each piece because they had created concave depressions in the base.35 The plinth was reinforced in 1981 and remained on display in front of the Tate until 1983.
In the years following the eightieth birthday exhibition, Reid and the trustees decided to loan large-scale works to galleries across the country on a long-term basis rather than keep them in storage. Kenwood House, an English Heritage property, had requested the loan of a sculpture by Moore and following correspondence regarding the safety and security of the sculpture, Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was installed at Kenwood House in 1983 at a site selected by Moore.
In July 1992 Ian Dejardin, the assistant curator at Kenwood House, wrote to Tate reporting that:
The figure on the left can be easily rocked backward and forward, and this is done frequently when teenagers climb over the sculpture and when doing so the whole bronze base, on which the sculpture rests, can shift towards the edge of the stone plinth. The weight of the sculpt + climbers have in all probability contributed to the base becoming concave around the base of this sculpture where also the water accumulates. Consequently a welded joint on the base has opened in 2 places (3cm apart) on the vertical face with some loss of metal; the hairline cracks continue to the horizontal part where it opens into 2 directs [sic], and where there is now a difference in level.36
Following this report of serious damage caused by people climbing on the sculpture, Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was removed from Kenwood House in October 1992. It was sent to Maurice Singer Foundry in Basingstoke for major repairs and reinforcement to the plinth at the cost of approximately £3,500. Following the sculpture’s reinstallation at Kenwood House in 1993, Tate discussed with English Heritage how to prevent such damage reoccurring. At first English Heritage increased invigilation of the sculpture and erected a ‘Do Not Climb’ sign. Tate favoured the erection of a fence around the sculpture, but according to records held in Tate’s Conservation Department there were ‘objections from English Heritage and the public to a fence being erected on the grounds of aesthetics rather than conservation ethics, [which] led to a hedge being the agreed preventative measure. However, it took 3 years of meetings and correspondence before the hedge was planted’.37 The low hedge was finally planted in 1996 but was unsuccessful as a deterrent for members of the public who wanted to climb on the sculpture. In October 2000 conservator Jehannine Mauduech noted that the hedge was trampled, visible footprints and scratches had appeared on the sculpture and the torso piece was rocking.38
Photograph of graffiti on Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 taken on 8 July 2001
Tate T02294
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Following Mauduech’s report moves were made to erect a tall fence around the sculpture; planning permission was sought from Camden Council in December 2000 and the following spring a plinth-height perimeter fence was installed around the sculpture. Although the fence has been largely successful in deterring climbers, graffiti has occasionally been found on the surface of the sculpture (fig.20).
Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 was cast in an edition of three, plus one artist’s copy. Tate’s cast is numbered ‘3/3’. However, this numbering points to a discrepancy somewhere among the four casts of the sculpture. According to records held at the Henry Moore Foundation, edition one was sold to Ruhrfestspielhaus, Recklinghausen, number two to Agnelli, Turin, and number three to the Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek. Moore’s artist’s cast, which would usually be numbered ‘0/3’, is identified as Tate’s cast.39 It is unclear whether the casts belonging to Moore and the Louisiana Museum were accidentally swapped, but it was supposedly the artist’s cast that Moore gifted to Tate in 1978. The examples sold to Ruhrfestspielhaus and the Louisiana Museum remain in those collections, but the whereabouts of the example sold to Agnelli, Turin, is unknown. The full-size plaster is held in the collection of the Henry Moore Foundation.

Alice Correia
August 2013


Henry Moore at Perry Green, London 2011, p.17.
Henry Moore cited in Albert Elsen, ‘Henry Moore’s Reflections on Sculpture’, Art Journal, vol.26, no.4, summer 1967, p.355.
Henry Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, transcript of Third Programme, BBC Radio, broadcast 14 July 1963, Tate Archive TGA 200816, p.18. (An edited version of this interview was published in Listener, 29 August 1963, pp.305–7.)
Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.57.
Henry Moore cited in Donald Hall, ‘Henry Moore: An Interview by Donald Hall’, Horizon, November 1960, reprinted in Alan Wilkinson (ed.), Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations, Aldershot 2002, p.226.
Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, London 1968, p.300.
Henry Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 1963, p.10.
See Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, 1987, 2nd edn, London 2003, pp.323–4.
Henry Moore, letter to Heinz Ohff, 8 March 1967, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
See ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 1963, pp.3–4.
Henry Moore, ‘Two-Piece Reclining Figures 1959 and 1960’, artist’s statement sent to Martin Butlin, 13 April 1961, Tate Artist Catalogue File, Henry Moore, A23945, reprinted in Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, Tate Gallery Catalogue: The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, p.28.
Berthoud 2003, p.343.
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore. Volume 4: Complete Sculpture 1964–73, London 1977, p.39.
Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore, London 1959, pp.23–5.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.75.
Richard Morphet, ‘T.2287 Two-Piece Reclining Figure No.3’, in The Tate Gallery 1978–80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981, p.130.
Donald Hall, Henry Moore: The Life and Work of a Great Sculptor, London 1966, p.160.
See John Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist, London 1986, p.35.
See Elsen 1967 and, for example, Neumann 1959.
Elsen 1967, p.354.
Herbert Read, The Philosophy of Modern Art, New York 1953, p.204.
Ibid., pp.204–5.
Henry Moore, ‘Statement for Unit One’, in Herbert Read (ed.), Unit One: The Modern Movement in English Architecture, Painting and Sculpture, London 1934, pp.29–30, cited in Read 1953, p.207.
Elsen 1967, p.355.
Christa Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work-Theory-Impact, London 2008, p.241.
Henry Moore, ‘Sculpture for Landscape’, in Selection, Winchester 1962, pp.12, 15, reprinted in Wilkinson 2002, p.245.
Alan Bowness, Greater London Council Exhibition, Battersea Park, London 1966, exhibition catalogue, Battersea Park, London 1966, unpaginated.
David Sylvester, Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue,Tate Gallery, London 1968, p.93.
See ‘Note on the Henry Moore Gift’, 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
These figures are based on those listed in a memo in the exhibition’s records; see Tate Public Records TG 92/344/2.
Norman Reid, letter to Mary Danowski, 31 August 1978, Tate Public Records TG 4/6/10/4.
‘T.2294 Henry Moore, Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 (1963–4)’, Tate Conservation Report, January 1981, Tate Conservation Records.
Ian Dejardin, ‘Henry Moore Bronze Sculpture in Kenwood Park’, memo to Tate, 2 July 1992, Tate Conservation Records.
‘T.2294 Henry Moore, Two Piece Reclining Figure No.5 (1963–4), Long Term Loan to English Heritage, Kenwood House. Summary’, Tate Conservation Records.
Jehannine Mauduech, email to Tate, 25 October 2000, Tate Conservation Records.
See Henry Moore’s sales log book, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.

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.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/henry-moore-om-ch-two-piece-reclining-figure-no5-r1171984, accessed 23 May 2024.