Upright Internal/External Form
Plaster on a wooden plinth
1956 x 679 x 692 mm
Presented by the artist 1978
Technique and condition
The figure at the centre of the sculpture is held in place at its base by plaster but it is also secured to the outer form by two supporting screw threads. One joins the back of the figure’s ‘head’ to the interior of the cocoon at the back (fig.1), and another fixes the upper rounded form of the internal form to an adjacent point on the interior wall (fig.2), although this is obscured from the viewer by the strip of plaster projecting across the front of the sculpture. A great deal of damage has occurred to the outer form where it joins the base, presumably as a result of stresses applied to this point during transit and handling.
Large or complex plasters such as this will often be cut into parts during the casting process, with the resulting pieces of bronze being welded together after casting. There appears to be evidence of this in the form of vertical cuts made on either side of the arch that projects across the open face of the sculpture (fig.5). There also seem to have been two sets of horizontal cuts made at around one and fourth fifths of the sculpture’s height respectively. Numerous repairs have been made to the surface following damage caused by the moulding process. Moore asked for the plaster to be reassembled after the casting was complete and it is likely that most of the repairs were carried out at this point.
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', March 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Upright Internal/External Form 1952–3 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, January 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
Clay, plaster, elm and bronze
According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, the small maquette that Moore created in 1951 was made out of clay, a medium that Moore had regularly used during the 1930s and 1940s to create initial models for sculptures.2 It is probable that he worked from preparatory drawings and drew upon his existing sculptural vocabulary to create this maquette, which was later cast in bronze in an edition of seven (fig.4). Once Moore was happy with the design of the maquette it was then scaled-up to a ‘working model’ of intermediary size (fig.5). At this stage in his career the creation of a working model constituted a new development in Moore’s sculptural practice, for up until the early 1950s he had always enlarged his maquettes into full-size sculptures.3 The deployment of a working model coincided with Moore’s decision to use plaster rather than terracotta as the principal medium for his preliminary models.4 Indeed, the working model for Upright Internal/External Form and Tate’s full-scale version can be identified as among his first sculptures made in the material. Moore later reflected on the benefits of working in plaster, stating that ‘plaster is an important material for sculptors. Good quality plaster mixed with water sets to the hardness of a soft stone. I use plaster for my maquettes in preference to clay because I can both build it up and cut it down. It is easily worked, while clay hardens and dries, so that it cannot be added to’.5 During the 1920s and early 1930s Moore had been known for his advocacy of direct carving and his rejection of traditional modelling techniques, but by the 1950s he found that working in plaster afforded him greater artistic freedom to test ideas on smaller scales before committing to them. As the critic David Sylvester noted in 1955:
Themes and origins
As Moore’s statement acknowledges, he had been thinking about the relationship between internal and external forms for some years prior to the development of his initial maquette for Upright Internal/External Form. His first sculpture exploring this theme had been The Helmet 1939–40 (fig.9). This lead sculpture was one of the last works made by Moore before the Second World War put a halt to his sculptural production in 1940.23 In it a vertical form made up of arches and ellipses, evocative of a standing figure, is enclosed within a domed shelter. When discussing his ‘Helmet Head’ series in 1980, Moore recalled that ‘the idea of one form inside another form may owe some of its incipient beginnings to my interest at one stage when I discovered armour. I spent many hours in the Wallace Collection, in London, looking at armour’.24 Given the time at which it was made, coupled with Moore’s declared interest in armoury, The Helmet and the subsequent series of helmet head sculptures may well have been prompted by the Second World War, although as Moore himself suggested, the sculptures also relate to other interests. The German psychologist Erich Neumann, for example, emphasised in 1959 that The Helmet is ‘dominated by the mother-child symbolism: it forms a uterine shell within which there dwells a child inhabitant’.25
Moore’s drawings can be seen to closely track his work in three dimensions between 1948 and 1950. The year Moore created Studies for Helmets and Full-Length Enclosed Figures (fig.13) he also returned to the ‘helmet’ in sculptural form, creating Helmet Head No.1 1950 (Tate T00388). Three of the forms included in this drawing are repeated from Ideas for Sculpture: Internal and External Forms 1948, including the study for Upright Internal/External Form, visible in the bottom-left corner, the form sketched above it, and the two upright forms immediately to its right. It is likely that by the time he made this sketch Moore had clear conceptions of these forms as three-dimensional sculptures, enabling him to repeat them freely.
The Henry Moore Gift
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Upright Internal/External Form 1952–3 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, January 2014, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www