Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore OM, CH Upright Motive No.7 1955-6, cast c.1958-61

Upright Motive No.7 is one of a series of vertically orientated sculptures made by Moore between 1955 and 1956 that reflect his interest in North American totem poles and Stonehenge, and relate to the work of contemporaries including Leon Underwood and Graham Sutherland.
Henry Moore OM, CH 1898–1986
Upright Motive No.7
1955–6, cast c.1958–61
3404 x 772 x 972 mm
Presented by the artist 1978
In an edition of 5 plus 1 artist’s copy


Upright Motive No.7 is a tall, vertically orientated bronze sculpture comprising geometric shapes and amorphous, undulating forms. The lowest section consists of an oblong, lying horizontally, with a smaller cuboid stacked on top of it. One of the faces of this form curves inward at its centre and has three deep grooves carved into it (fig.1). Directly above it a series of three curvaceous forms project outwards on three sides of the sculpture (fig.2).
Detail of base of Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Detail of curvaceous forms on Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Detail of rounded swelling half-way up Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
The fourth side of the column is, by contrast, reasonably flat until approximately half way up the sculpture where a rounded, roughly bell-shaped swelling marks its widest point (fig.3). A series of approximately equidistant circular depressions have been made in its surface around three-quarters of the form’s circumference. The other side, however, has been carved to form a deep recess into which the section above appears to have been wedged (fig.4). This upper-most section is deeper than it is thick and features rounded knots or stumps on three sides leading towards a narrow apex. The other side of the column, which further down has the flatter surface, is marked by two thin raised lines that rise diagonally from the central swelling up towards the top of the column where they meet a bulbous growth that projects outwards with two recessed depressions on both sides (fig.5).
Detail of upper section of Upright Motive No.7 Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Detail of thin raised lines on upper section of Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Detail of marks on the surface of Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
The surface has a mottled texture produced by a variety of incisions and marks made in the surface of the plaster original. Drips and swathes of plaster, short lines made by filing tools, and more pronounced breaks in the surface – such as the circular indentations carved into its face – appear across the sculpture (fig.6).

Making the Upright Motives

Upright Motive No.7 is one of a series of vertically orientated sculptures known as ‘upright motives’ made by Moore between 1955 and 1956. Moore created thirteen small bronze maquettes for individual sculptures, of which five (numbers 1, 2, 5, 7, and 8) were enlarged to full size. In addition to Upright Motive No.7, Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross 1955–6, cast 1958–60 (Tate T02274) and Upright Motive No.2 1955–6, cast c.1958–62 (Tate T02275) are also held in the Tate collection. Reflecting upon the origins of these sculptures in 1968, Moore recalled:
The maquettes for this upright motif theme were triggered off for me by being asked by the architect to do a sculpture for the courtyard of the new Olivetti building in Milan. It is a very low horizontal one-storey building. My immediate thought was that any sculpture that I should do must be in contrast to this horizontal rhythm. It needed some vertical form in front of it. At the time I also wanted to have a change from the Reclining Figure theme that I had returned to so often. So I did all these small maquettes. They were never used for the Milan building in the end because, at a later stage, when I found that the sculpture would virtually be in a car park, I lost interest. I had no desire to have a sculpture where half of it would be obscured most of the day by cars. I do not think that cars and sculptures really go well together.1
Henry Moore 'Upright Motives' 1954–6
Henry Moore
Upright Motives 1954–6
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive
Ann Garrould, the cataloguer of Moore’s drawings, has identified four individual pages of sketches depicting upright motives dating from 1954–6.2 The sketch in the middle left of Upright Motives 1954–6 (fig.7) presents a form similar to Upright Motive No.7, particularly in the way that the thin upper form slots into a rounded form below. However, it is unlikely that these sketches were preparatory drawings for any single sculpture. The curator Alan Wilkinson has asserted that ‘there were no preparatory drawings for these works’, and indeed by the mid-1950s Moore rarely, if ever, made preparatory drawings for specific sculptures.3 Instead he would begin by working in three dimensions, constructing small models in clay, plaster, or other malleable materials. In 1978 Moore explained:
I have gradually changed from using preliminary drawings for my sculptures to working from the beginning in three-dimensions. That is, I first make a maquette for any idea I have for a sculpture. The maquette is only three or four inches in size, and I can hold it in my hand, turning it over to look at it from above, underneath, and in fact from any angle.4
Henry Moore 'Maquette for Upright Motive No.7' 1955
Henry Moore
Maquette for Upright Motive No.7 1955
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive
The plaster maquette for Upright Motive No.7 is dated 1955 (fig.8) and was probably made by Moore in his maquette 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 for creating small plaster sculptures and was lined with shelves on which his ever growing collection of bones, shells, and pebbles – what he called his ‘library of natural forms’ – was stored.5 Surrounded by these objects, Moore appropriated their shapes when creating his own sculptures. In 1963 he explained to the critic David Sylvester how he worked with found natural objects:
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.6
In 1955 Moore was just beginning to develop the working technique he described confidently to Sylvester in 1963. It is likely that Upright Motive No.7 developed from pieces of plaster cast from the impression left by a stone, bone, or shell pressed into clay or plasticine. Once these pieces of plaster had hardened, Moore could then add and subtract forms, and smooth or sharpen edges to make the final plaster maquette.
Henry Moore 'Upright Motive No.7' 1955–6
Henry Moore
Upright Motive No.7 1955–6
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive
Once Moore was happy with the design of his maquette a full-size plaster version would then be made, probably in the White Studio with the help of one of his studio assistants, who at the time included Daryll Hill, Peter King, Lenton Parr and Stephen Walker. Moore was able to allocate the bulk of the preliminary work to others because, as the curator Julie Summers has noted, the enlargement process was ‘a scientific rather than artistic process’.7 The first stage in the process involved constructing an armature made of wood or chicken wire using the smaller maquette as a guide. Over this structure layers of plaster were built up and the sculpture would begin to gain mass and form (fig.9).
Detail of casting seam on Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
When the full-size plaster version was near completion Moore would inspect it and finish the details on the surface before sending it to a bronze foundry for casting. Upright Motive No.7 was cast at H.H. Martyn in Cheltenham, a foundry that Moore used between c.1958 and 1970, although he also employed a number of others in London, Paris and Berlin over the course of this period.8 At the foundry the technicians used the plaster original to create hollow moulds into which molten bronze could be poured. As part of this process the plaster sculpture would be covered in sealants and resins, and in some instances cut up into manageable sizes. Upright Motive No.7 appears to have been cast in at least two sections before the bronze pieces were welded together, and a horizontal seam running across the sculpture can be identified as evidence of this process (fig.10).
The sculpture exists in an edition of five plus one artist’s copy. Due to the expense of casting these large bronze sculptures Moore rarely cast a whole edition at once, and in the interim the original plasters would have been retained by the foundry. Records held at the Henry Moore Foundation suggest that examples of Upright Motive No.7 were cast between 1958 and 1961.9 Indeed, letters sent between Moore and G.W. Reid at H.H. Martyn reveal that the company was making casts of Upright Motive No.7 throughout 1960.10 Although the sculpture is not signed or numbered, it is believed to be the artist’s copy.11
Moore's assistants patinating bronze sculptures from the upright motive series c.1958–60
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: John Hedgecoe
After casting at the foundry the bronze sculpture would have been returned to Moore so that he could examine the quality of the casting 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. In 1968 Moore remarked upon a photograph of his studio assistants patinating bronzes from the upright motive series (fig.11), 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’.12

Sources and development

In his 1965 essay on Moore’s upright motives the critic John Russell sought to locate their origins in Moore’s previous work.13 Although at the time Moore was known chiefly for his reclining female figures, such as Reclining Figure 1951 (Tate T02270), Russell demonstrated that Moore had also subjected the upright form to consistent, albeit infrequent, examination throughout his career. From the early wood carving Torso 1927 (fig.12) and the Stringed Figure 1938 to Three Standing Figures 1953 (fig.13), Russell provided a visual chronology of Moore’s vertical standing forms to which Upright Motive No.7 may be related.14 However the upright motives may also be seen in relation to Moore’s interest in so-called ‘primitive’ art, his surrealist works of the 1930s, and the architectural commissions he undertook in the early 1950s.
Henry Moore 'Torso' 1927
Henry Moore
Torso 1927
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive
Henry Moore 'Three Standing Figures' 1953
Henry Moore
Three Standing Figures 1953
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive

Bird-faced figure carved by Arawak, Jamaica, c.800–1500
© The Trustees of the British Museum
British Museum
‘Primitive art’ was an over-arching term used by artists and art historians in the first half of the twentieth century to describe examples of non-Western art – such as indigenous art from Africa, North America, Asia and the Pacific Islands – and ancient, prehistoric and medieval European art. Spanning geography and historical time, primitive art was deemed to be more expressive and authentic than the staid naturalistic conventions of European fine art made since the Renaissance. In 1965 Moore himself identified that when he began working on his maquettes ‘by balancing different forms one above the other’ the results were ‘rather like the North-West American totem poles’.15 Although Moore’s statement suggests that the resemblance was coincidental rather than intentional, his reference to non-Western art indicates that Moore remained sensitive to forms that he first encountered in the British Museum in the later 1920s and 1930s. During this time Moore made regular trips to the museum and went on to use its collection of prehistoric, non-Western and medieval art as a source of inspiration for sculptural ideas throughout his career. In 1980 Moore was invited to identify objects from the British Museum collection that had influenced his work, and these were then collated in the photographic book Henry Moore at the British Museum (1981).16 In this book an illustration of Upright Motive No.7 was reproduced alongside that of a carved bird-faced figurative sculpture made by the Arawak people, indigenous to the Caribbean (fig.14). Moore wrote: ‘What I liked about this was the way the sculpture was built up in divisions, lump upon lump, as though it were breathing in matter, up from the toes, along the arms from the fingers, into the great swelling chest’.17 Moore’s emphasis upon the compartmentalisation of the figure and the momentum created by its swelling forms indicates one way in which non-Western sources may have influenced the composition of Upright Motive No.7.
Leon Underwood 'Totem to the Artist' 1925–30
Leon Underwood
Totem to the Artist 1925–30
Tate T00644
© The Estate of Leon Underwood
courtesy the Redfern Gallery, London
Moore’s interest in non-Western sculpture during the 1920s and early 1930s was not unique, and he would have had opportunities to talk about such work with friends and contemporaries. Leon Underwood’s Totem to the Artist 1925–30 (Tate T00644; fig.15), for example, is a standing form comprised of three vertically arranged, interlocking figures, and developed from the artist’s study of North American totem poles. Moore had studied life drawing under Underwood at the Royal College of Art in 1920 before attending evening classes at Underwood’s own Brook Green School of Drawing at Girdlers Road in west London from 1921. Although Moore practised life drawing less frequently as the 1920s progressed, Totem to the Artist was carved during a period when Moore was still a regular participant in the debates that took place at the Brook Green School. It is therefore possible that Moore was aware of this work, and may have discussed the sculptural possibilities of the upright totem form with Underwood.
In 1965 the critic Herbert Read proposed that prototypes for Moore’s standing totems could also be found in the prehistoric standing stones of Stonehenge and Avebury Circle in south-west England and Carnac in Brittany, France.18 Moore first visited Stonehenge as a student in autumn 1921 and retained an interest in the Neolithic standing stones throughout his career. According to the art historian Andrew Causey, Moore revisited Stonehenge on more than one occasion in the 1950s ‘when his daughter, Mary, was at school nearby’.19 Moore’s interest in Stonehenge culminated in a series of lithographs depicting the standing stones made in 1972–3 (Tate P02169P02187). As the art historian Sam Smiles has outlined, by the 1930s a number of artists within Moore’s circle had developed an appeal for the standing stones, considering them to be examples of ancient British ‘primitive art’.20 Moore’s friend and artistic collaborator Paul Nash, for example, assimilated Britain’s prehistoric monuments into his modernist vocabulary, as seen in the painting Equivalents for the Megaliths 1935 (Tate T01251). In a letter to Nash written on 15 September 1933 Moore responded to a query stating, ‘Yes. I’ve seen Stonehenge. Its [sic] very impressive. I’ve read somewhere that certain primitive peoples coming across a large block of stone in their wanderings would worship it as a god – which is easy to understand, for there’s a sense of immense power about a large rough-shaped lump of rock or stone’.21 In their essay examining Moore’s outdoor sculptures, art historians Penelope Curtis and Fiona Russell suggested that ‘by the later 1930s Moore and Hepworth were clearly ready to suggest that their own sculptures were monuments in a lineage of stone monuments of the Neolithic builders, with perhaps a similarly arcane or forgotten purpose. Their sculptures were at once ancient and modern, or, to use the title of Paul Nash’s painting, Equivalents for the Megaliths’.22
Henry Moore 'Crowd Looking at a Tied-Up Object' 1942
Henry Moore
Crowd Looking at a Tied-Up Object 1942
© Trustees of the British Museum; © The Henry Moore Foundation. All rights reserved
Nupe men standing around two veiled Dako cult dance costumes, Nigeria. Image reproduced in Leo Frobenius, Kulturgeschichte Afrikas (1933)
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

During the Second World War, when a lack of available materials brought Moore’s sculptural activity to a near standstill, he made a number of drawings depicting a crowd of people gathered before a towering standing sculpture shrouded in fabric (fig.16). The curator Alan Wilkinson has asserted that ‘the source was almost certainly the photograph in [Leo] Frobenius’s Kulturgeschichte Afrikas (1933) showing a group of Nupe tribesmen from northern Nigeria standing around two veiled (but not tied-up) Dako cult dance costumes’ (fig.17).23 Moore owned a copy of Frobenius’s book and its reproductions served as the basis for several drawings he executed during the mid-1930s. According to Wilkinson, Crowd Looking at a Tied-Up Object was ‘undoubtedly Moore’s most famous pictorial drawing’, and had ‘Surrealistic overtones’.24 By the 1970s the critics Robert Melville and John Russell had both identified an affinity between the sculptural character of the upright motives and what they regarded as the surreal mood and content of his earlier drawing.25 Melville wrote:
A drawing of a Surrealist situation made by Moore in 1942, soon after completing the shelter drawings, proved to be in some measure prophetic. It obviously connected with his desire to resume his sculptural activities, which were suspended when he was engaged as a war artist, and is conceived in terms of an enigmatic promise ... One could now easily be convinced that the wrappings hide a version of one of the Upright Motives of 1955–56.26
Henry Moore 'Etruscan Pottery and Heads' 1955–6
Henry Moore
Etruscan Pottery and Heads 1955–6
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive
Henry Moore 'Six Standing Forms' 1955–56
Henry Moore
Six Standing Forms 1955–56
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive

The origins of the bulbous form halfway up Upright Motive No.7 and the circular indentations in its surface may be traced to works made by Moore following his first and only visit to Greece in February 1951. On his return home Moore made a sketch of two vases or urns, annotated with the phrase ‘Etruscan Pottery’ (fig.18). These rounded containers then formed the basis of a series of drawings depicting segmented female figures (fig.19). In addition to the similarities between these figures and Upright Motive No.7 in terms of their construction – in distinct units, conjoined by smooth curves – affinities can also be identified in their decoration. The three evenly spaced holes encircling the swollen midriff of one figure (fig.19), which have been drawn to give the impression that they have been cut out from a solid mass, resemble in their appearance and placement the circular depressions made in the surface of Upright Motive No.7. Although Moore did not sign or date these sketches they have been retrospectively dated 1955–6. However, the cataloguer of Moore’s drawings Ann Garrould noted in 2003 that the other contents of the notebook in which these sketches were made indicates that ‘the notebook was started well before 1955’.27
Henry Moore 'Wall Relief: Maquette No.2' 1955
Henry Moore
Wall Relief: Maquette No.2 1955
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Darren Chung, Henry Moore Foundation Archive
In 1960 the art critic Will Grohmann observed that the upright motive series could be linked to Moore’s 1954 commission to design a relief wall for the Bowcentrum in Rotterdam.28 In preparation for this commission Moore created ten rectangular maquettes, each presenting a series of linear forms comprised of various shapes arranged into vertical lines and set in relief against a flat ground. According to the curator Anita Feldman Bennet Moore created these maquettes ‘by pressing found objects into clay and casting in plaster and bronze the mysterious organic impressions which resulted’.29 However, the repetition of specific, legible forms in the maquettes – in particular the bell-shape decorated with imprinted circles, the cone incised with triangles, and the hollow square, which can all be seen in Wall Relief: Maquette No.2 1955 (fig.20) – presents a greater degree of structure and control than Feldman Bennet’s description of ‘mysterious organic impressions’ implies.
The final work for the Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam was constructed in brick and comprised rounded, organic shapes framed by vertical striations on both sides and geometric blocks above and below. According to John Russell, Moore’s relief works were, ‘abstract arrangements that had a formal life of their own: a vigorous, chunky, all-purpose vitality that seemed to burst out of the columnar structure and set off all manner of associations. They were not so much reliefs as free-standing sculptures that seemed to have sunk into the body of the wall’.30 Following a discussion with Moore on 12 December 1980, Tate curator Richard Morphet reported that the Bouwcentrum commission ‘led to the idea of releasing the forms from their incorporation in the fabric of the wall so that they become free-standing’.31

Grouping the Upright Motives

Tate’s cast of Upright Motive No.7 was first exhibited in Moore’s solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1960 where it was displayed in a grouping alongside Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross and Upright Motive No.2. Although each of the upright motives were conceived as individual artworks, Moore later suggested that the idea of presenting numbers one, two and seven together had come to him at an early stage in their development. In 1965 Moore claimed that ‘when I came to carry out some of these maquettes in their final full size, three of them grouped themselves together’. 32
Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61, Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross 1955–6, cast 1958–60, and Upright Motive No.2 1955–6, cast c.1958–62 installed at the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller in Otterlo, 1965
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Henry Moore Foundation Archive
In 1965 the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller in Otterlo acquired examples of the three upright motives displayed as a tryptich at the Whitechapel Gallery and invited Moore to design a pedestal for their outdoor display (fig.21). The sculptures were unveiled in April 1965 and at this time Moore described how the tripartite group reflected Christian imagery, stating that ‘in my mind, [they] assumed the aspect of a crucifixion scene as though framed against the sky above Golgotha. – (But I do not especially expect others to find this symbolism in the group)’. 33 According to Christian belief, Golgotha was the hilltop site outside Jerusalem where Jesus Christ was crucified, flanked by two thieves. In 1968 Russell analysed Moore’s statement, suggesting that the phrase ‘in my mind’ was central to understanding Moore’s relationship with both his work and his audience.34 Russell noted that Moore rarely made direct statements about the meaning of his work and that in this instance Moore personalised his interpretation, stressing that he did not expect others to find Christian symbolism in the work.35 Russell himself concluded that ‘the combination of the three Motives does not seem to me necessarily to have anything to do with the Crucifixion’.36 Nonetheless, Moore returned to these religious interpretations in 1968, saying that ‘I often work in threes when relating things. Take the symbolic cross motif. I realised that, whenever it was placed with others, it had to be in the middle. When placed between two others, the three became a crucifixion group’.37

Graham Sutherland 'Standing Forms II' 1952
Graham Sutherland
Standing Forms II 1952
Tate T03113
© The estate of Graham Sutherland
Moore’s sculptures may also be understood in relation to the engagement of religious themes and subjects by artists working at the same time. In 1965 a critic writing in the Burlington Magazine observed that Moore’s upright motives were created ‘at roughly the same time as Graham Sutherland was experimenting with the same type of figure in his paintings’.38 However, it was not until 1998 that this reference to the British painter Sutherland was explored further. In her book New Art / New World: British Art in Postwar Society the art historian Margaret Garlake compared Moore’s upright motives with contemporaneous works by Sutherland, remarking that the triptych of sculptures produced ‘a set of variations on natural forms that were congruent with Christian imagery in a manner comprable to Sutherland’s standing forms’.39 For example, in paintings such as Standing Forms II 1952 (Tate T03113; fig.22), Sutherland depicted three vertical forms comprised of interlocking organic shapes, some of which are positioned on plinths. These associations are strengthened by the fact that Moore knew Sutherland and his work well. Not only was he present at the unveiling of Sutherland’s Crucifixion 1946 at St Matthew’s Church in Northampton (which had also commissioned Moore’s Madonna and Child 1943–4), but he also exhibited alongside Sutherland in the British Pavilion at the 1952 Venice Biennale.
In addition to Sutherland, the paintings of Francis Bacon have also been thought to have influenced the forms that appear in Moore’s sculptures in the early to mid-1950s. In the catalogue for Moore’s posthumous exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, in 1988, the curator Susan Compton proposed that the bulbous torsos and truncated limbs of the figures in Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944 (Tate N06171; fig.23) bear a relation to Moore’s upright motives.40 Furthermore, the art historian Julian Stallabrass has observed that ‘from some points of view No.7 can be read as a figure with its head thrown right back and its open mouth pointed at the sky’ as though expressing the kind of extreme suffering depicted by Bacon (fig.24).41 It is probable that Moore viewed Bacon’s painting when it was acquired by Tate in 1953, when Moore was a trustee of the gallery. However, despite these connections Garlake concluded that ‘Moore’s work, like Sutherland’s, can more convincingly be located with a pastoral and holistic reading of nature than in the existentially oriented context of Bacon’s painting’.42
Francis Bacon 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion' c.1944
Francis Bacon
Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944
Tate N06171
© Tate
Detail of apex of Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61
Tate T02276
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Moore’s work from the 1950s might nevertheless be viewed through the lens of post-war anxiety, as the work of Bacon and a younger generation of sculptors, including Lynn Chadwick and Reg Butler, have been previously. Stallabrass engaged one possible line of enquiry to this end with his claim that Moore’s sources for the upright motive series included a series of drawings he executed at the National Army Museum in 1941–2 (fig.25).43 Made while Moore was an Official War Artist, these drawings depict the internal workings of bombs. Their smooth outer casings contain complex mechanical workings, protrusions and taught wires that predate the rods and ribs visible in the upper section of Upright Motive No.7. For Stallabrass these drawings demonstrate that ‘the concerns of the upright motives are closer to Moore’s response to the war than to the ahistorical matters which solely primitive influences and associations would imply’.44
Henry Moore 'Three Bomb Cases from an Army Museum' 1943
Henry Moore
Three Bomb Cases from an Army Museum 1943
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Henry Moore 'Upright Motive No.7' c.1966
Henry Moore
Upright Motive No.7 c.1966
The Henry Moore Foundation
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

In 1966 Moore returned to Upright Motive No.7 and created two drawings of the sculpture (see fig.26). It is unclear why Moore chose to revisit the sculpture at this particular time, but it is notable that in 1966–8 he also made an etching of Crowd Looking at a Tied-Up Object as part of a portfolio of prints entitled Meditations on the Effigy (see Tate P02079). The portfolio was published to mark the artist’s seventieth birthday and Robert Melville described the prints, which drew on earlier sketches and sculptures, as reflections on ‘a lifetime of creative enterprise’.45 It is possible that Moore had considered a graphic rendition of Upright Motive No.7 for the portfolio.

The Henry Moore Gift

Upright Motive No.7, Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross and Upright Motive No.2 on display in the Duveen Galleries, Tate Gallery, London, 1978
Tate Archives
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Henry Moore presented Upright Motive No.7 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’.46 Upright Motive No.7 was displayed next to Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross and Upright Motive No.2 in the Duveen Galleries during the exhibition, and photographs taken while they were on display indicate that the three sculptures all had different patinas (fig.27). The exhibition was attended by over 20,500 people and nearly 11,000 copies of the catalogue were sold.47 At the close of the exhibition in late August 1978 the Director of Tate Norman Reid reflected in a letter to Moore’s daughter 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’.48
Following the exhibition the three upright motive sculptures were returned to Moore. In a letter to Moore’s secretary Betty Tinsley dated 25 July 1978, Ruth Rattenbury, Assistant Keeper of the Collection, itemised a number of works to be returned to the artist for repairs, and of the three upright motives noted that, ‘Mr Moore said that he would have them treated so that they were all the same colour’.49 In May 1979 the sculptures were returned to Tate and installed on a specially designed base on the lawn in front of the gallery. It is evident from the photographs taken of the installation at the time that the sculptures no longer displayed the variations in colour as they had previously (fig.28).
Upright Motive No.7, Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross and Upright Motive No.2 installed on the front lawn, Tate Gallery, London
Tate Archive
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61, Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross 1955–6, cast 1958–60, and Upright Motive No.2 1955–6, cast c.1958–62 installed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, November 2013
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

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.50 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.29) although they were returned to Tate in 2003 and exhibited in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern for the display Henry Moore: Public Sculptures. In 2011 Upright Motive No.7 was displayed individually in the exhibition Single Form: The Body in Sculpture from Rodin to Hepworth in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain.51
The five other bronze casts of Upright Motive No.7 are held in the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller in Otterlo, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, and in a private collection.

Alice Correia
March 2013


Henry Moore cited in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London 1968, p.245.
Ann Garrould, Henry Moore. Volume 4: Complete Drawings 1950–76, London 2003, p.73.
Alan G. Wilkinson, Henry Moore Remembered: The Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Toronto 1987, p.160.
Henry Moore cited in Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work, London 1978, p.123.
See Henry Moore at Perry Green, London 2011, p.17.
Henry Moore in ‘Henry Moore Talking to David Sylvester’, 7 June 1963, transcript of Third Programme, broadcast BBC Radio, 14 July 1963, Tate Archive TGA 200816, p.18. (An edited version of this interview was published in the Listener, 29 August 1963, pp.305–7.)
Julie Summers, ‘Fragment of Maquette for King and Queen’, in Claude Allemand-Cosneau, Manfred Fath and David Mitchinson (eds.), Henry Moore From the Inside Out: Plasters, Carvings and Drawings, Munich 1996, p.126.
For more information on the firm’s history see ‘H.H. Martyn & Co.’, in Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951, http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/organization.php?id=msib6_1232025346, accessed 2 April 2013.
Henry Moore sales log book, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
G.W. Reid, letter to Henry Moore, 25 November 1960, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Henry Moore sales log book, Henry Moore Foundation Archive.
Moore in Hedgecoe 1968, p.248.
John Russell in Henry Moore, John Russell and A.M. Hammacher, Drie Staande Motieven, Otterlo 1965, unpaginated.
Ibid., figs.1–7.
Henry Moore in Moore, Russell and Hammacher 1965, unpaginated.
Henry Moore, Henry Moore at the British Museum, London 1981. In his introduction to the book Moore concluded that ‘It has been a wonderful experience for me to recapture the delight, the excitement, the inspiration I got in these pieces as a young and developing sculptor’ (p.16).
Ibid., p.117.
Herbert Read, Henry Moore: A Study of his Life and Work, London 1965, p.206.
Andrew Causey, The Drawings of Henry Moore, London 2010, p.71.
Sam Smiles, ‘Equivalents for the Megaliths: Prehistory and English Culture, 1920–50’, in David Peters Corbett, Ysanne Holt and Fiona Russell (eds.), The Geographies of Englishness: Landscape and the National Past 1880–1940, New Haven 2002, pp.199–223.
Henry Moore, letter to Paul Nash, 15 September 1933, Tate Archive TGA 8313/1/2/153.
Penelope Curtis and Fiona Russell, ‘Henry Moore and the Post-War British Landscape: Monuments Ancient and Modern’, in Jane Beckett and Fiona Russell (eds.), Henry Moore: Critical Essays, Aldershot 2003, p.138.
Alan Wilkinson, The Drawings of Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1977, p.42.
Ibid., p.42.
See John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1973, p.117.
Robert Melville, Henry Moore: Sculpture and Drawings 1921–1969, London 1970, p.27.
Garrould 2003, p.89.
Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore, London 1960, p.197.
Anita Feldman Bennet, ‘Rediscovering Humanism’ in Henry Moore: In the Light of Greece, exhibition catalogue, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros 2000, p.69.
John Russell, Henry Moore, London 1968, p.151.
[Richard Calvocoressi], ‘T.2281, Three Motives Against Wall No.2’, The Tate Gallery 1978–80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981, p.126.
Moore in Moore, Russell and Hammacher 1965, unpaginated.
Russell 1968, p.141.
Ibid., p.143.
Ibid., p.155.
Moore cited in Hedgecoe 1968, p.250.
Anon., ‘Acquisitions of Works of Art by Museums and Galleries: Supplement’, Burlington Magazine, vol.107, no.747, June 1965, p.338.
Margaret Garlake, New Art / New World: British Art in Postwar Society, New Haven and London 1998, p.191.
Susan Compton (ed.), Henry Moore, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London 1988, p.237.
Julian Stallabrass, ‘Upright Motive No.5’, in David Mitchinson (ed.), Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, London 2006, p.247.
Garlake 1998, p.192.
Stallabrass 2006, p.246.
Ibid., p.247.
Robert Melville, ‘Henry Moore: Meditations on the Effigy’, in Henry Moore, Meditations on the Effigy, London 1968, pp.3–7.
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 records for the exhibition. 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.
Ruth Rattenbury, letter to Mrs B. Tinsley, 25 July 1978, Tate Public Records TG 92/344/2.
Roy Perry, ‘Damage Report T.2274 T.2276 Henry Moore’, 1 June 1983, Tate Public Records TG 4/9/391/6.
See Richard Dorment, ‘Single Form, Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain’, Guardian, 23 May 2011, p.23.

How to cite

Alice Correia, ‘Upright Motive No.7 1955–6, cast c.1958–61 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, March 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-upright-motive-no7-r1172002, accessed 20 May 2022.