Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross
1955–6, cast 1958–60
3327 x 978 x 965 mm
Presented by Mary Danowski (née Moore) 1978
Artist’s copy aside from edition of 6
Technique and condition
Moore added further surface detail using the technique of graffito, which involves making lines in the plaster while it is still slightly wet. This is illustrated by the panel on the lower section of the sculpture where vertical lines and circles have been incised into its surface (fig.4). Equally, the semi-circular form that appears directly above the base and the vertical ridges that appear on the opposite side of the column (fig.5) demonstrate how Moore used relief to enhance particular forms.
While situated at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), sheep have also affected the appearance of this sculpture. Since its foundation in 1977 YSP has worked with local farmers, allowing flocks of sheep to graze on parts of its 500 acre estate. The sheep have used the sculptures on display as shelters, and their slightly abrasive wool has removed the patina around the base of Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross leaving visible golden edges (fig.9).
How to citeLyndsey Morgan, 'Technique and Condition', May 2013, in Alice Correia, ‘Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross 1955–6, cast 1958–60 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www
The rear side of the sculpture’s lower half is textured with five vertical ridges and capped with a curved lip (fig.3). Combined with the vertical lines on the facing relief, these features further identify the cuboid with a plinth or column, specifically evoking the fluting of an ionic column.
The sculpture’s lateral surfaces are not patterned with relief designs. However, the different surface textures found on the sculpture are most evident on these side surfaces. The upper part in marked with shallow grooves and cuts while the lower section has been smoothed and then incised with fine cross-hatched lines, probably made with a knife or another sharp tool (fig.4). Moore would have applied these surface textures to the original plaster version knowing that they would be reproduced during the bronze casting process.
Making the Upright Motives
After casting at the foundry the bronze sculpture would have been returned to Moore so that he could examine its quality and make decisions about the patination. A patina is the surface colour of a sculpture and is usually achieved by applying chemical solutions to the pre-heated bronze sculpture. In 1968 Moore remarked upon an undated photograph of his studio assistants patinating bronzes from the upright motive series (fig.7), explaining that, ‘my assistants are patinating the upright motifs [sic], to give them the colour and surface quality I wanted. In my sculpture, whilst of course colour counts, it’s not the main thing. Otherwise I would have been a painter’.10 Tate’s copy of Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross is predominantly dark brown and black, although some areas have turned green, particularly towards the top of the sculpture. As Moore explained, ‘bronze naturally in the open air (particularly near the sea) will turn with time and the action of the atmosphere to a beautiful green’.11
Sources and development
In 1955, when he began work on the Upright Motive series, Moore made a unique terracotta version of the striated rectangular relief found on the front of Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross (fig.10). Although the small sculpture contains elements not found in the final version – principally the two small round indentations visible at the top – other features are included, such as the column of horizontal striations on the left-hand side. The curator Alan Wilkinson has suggested that the relief and its designs were conceived in a drawing made by Moore in c.1935 (fig.11). The sketch in the upper left-hand corner of this drawing presents a vertical form comprised of vertical parallel lines that terminate at a pair of rounded shapes at the bottom. The page is annotated with the words, ‘New Ireland | strings’, indicating the geographical area where the depicted object was made and, perhaps, the character of the vertical lines.15 New Ireland is a large island in Papua New Guinea and Garrould has suggested that Moore may have sketched the ‘shield or implement whilst on a visit to the Ethnographical department of the British Museum’.16 Although the original source has not been identified, it is known that Moore made regular trips to the museum following his arrival in London in 1921 and used its collection of prehistoric, medieval and non-Western art as a source of inspiration for sculptural ideas throughout his career. In 1980 Moore was invited to identify artworks from the British Museum collection that had influenced his work, and these were then collated for publication in the photographic book Henry Moore at the British Museum (1981).17 Discussing two sculptures from Papua New Guinea included in this book, Moore noted that ‘the Oceanic peoples appear to me to have a more anxious, nervous, over-imaginative view of the world, expressing itself in fantastic, birdlike, beetlelike forms with a nightmarish quality about them’.18 It was perhaps the birdlike qualities Moore identified in art from Papua New Guinea that led him in to draw a lyre bird in 1936 in the shape of the shield-like object, featuring similar parallel lines down its length, a crescent shaped disc, and a circle near the bottom, which he used to denote the bird’s eye (fig.12).
Moore’s engagement with ancient and non-Western art while he was designing his upright motives was not limited to this bird motif. In 1965 he noted that he began work on his maquettes ‘by balancing different forms one above the other – with results rather like the North-West American totem poles’.19 An unnamed critic writing in the Burlington Magazine in 1965 suggested that ‘we can find echoes of their monumentality in Scottish early medieval crosses, in Celtic art and even in ancient Assyrian obelisks. Perhaps the days Moore spent in the British Museum thirty-five years before these sculptures were executed left him with some feeling for the grandeur and strangeness of upright stone monoliths’.20 Later that same year Herbert Read supplemented these references, proposing that prototypes for Moore’s standing totems could be found in the prehistoric standing stones of Stonehenge and Avebury Circle in south-west England and Carnac in Brittany, France.21
Read’s identification of the upper section of Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross as a head suggests that human, figurative forms may be identified within its bulbous shapes. Moore’s concrete Composition 1933 (fig.15) is generally understood as an amorphous portrait bust, with a head morphing out of an armless torso. Although Composition does not represent a human form with any anatomical accuracy, its associative ties to the figurative are supported by Moore, who in 1932 remarked that ‘all the best sculpture I know is both abstract and representational at the same time’.30 Discussing this figurative undercurrent in Moore’s work, in 1968 the critic John Russell suggested that in his upright motives, Moore was grappling with the problem of how to give the ‘human figure the freedom and the audacity and the manifold reverberation of the abstract idiom’.31 As such, he argued that Moore’s upright motives were ‘altered or “perturbed” objects, in the Surrealist sense’.32
Throughout the 1940s and early 1950s Moore continued to explore the varied compositional possibilities of the standing figure. In drawings such as Studies for Standing Figures 1949 (fig.16) the body is broken down into component parts. This method of fragmenting and reconstructing the figure bears an affinity with drawings published by Pablo Picasso under the title An Anatomy 1933 (fig.17). Moore had been aware of Picasso’s work since his student days at Leeds School of Art, and in 1973 reflected that ‘really all my practicing life was as a student, and as a sculptor I have been very conscious of Picasso because he dominated sculpture and painting – even sculpture as well as painting – since Cubism’.33 An Anatomy was originally reproduced in the first issue of the periodical Minotaure, published in Paris in June 1933, and it is probable that Moore saw or bought a copy around the time of its publication.34 In his drawings Picasso presented the human body as an assemblage of precariously balanced shapes and objects. Arches, prisms and cuboids are stacked with shapes recalling ladders, chairs and cogs, reconfiguring the body as a series of interconnected forms in space. Although Moore preferred rounded forms, rather than the hard-edged shapes found in An Anatomy, the technique of building figures from discrete components was put to productive use in his drawings.
The Henry Moore Gift
All three upright motive sculptures in the Tate collection remained on display on the Tate lawn until April 1983 when they were relocated to the nearby Battersea Park. On 26 May Tate was notified that vandals had breached the security fence surrounding the sculptures, which were still in the process of being installed, and had set fire to the protective canvas covering Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross and Upright Motive No.7. As a result the patina and surface of the lower areas of the two sculptures were charred.78 Despite this inauspicious start, the installation of the three upright motives continued as planned, and they were positioned in a prominent position on top of a raised incline. Apart from being removed temporarily for display at the Royal Academy of Arts and at Tate in 1988 and 1992 respectively, the sculptures remained at Battersea Park until October 1994. That month Upright Motive No.2 was forcefully rocked by vandals until it fell over and the decision was made to permanently remove all three of the upright motives from the park. They were subsequently placed on long-term loan to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield (fig.26).
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross 1955–6, cast 1958–60 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www