Details & Cataloguing

Modern & Post-War British Art


Henry Moore, O.M., C.H.
height: 14cm.; 5½in.
Conceived in 1944, and cast in an edition of 9.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report


Acquired by the grandfather of the present owner, and thence by descent


Madrid, Palacio De Velazquez, Henry Moore: Sculpture, Drawings, Graphics 1921-1981, May - August 1981, cat. no.189 (terracotta version), with British Council tour to Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; 
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Henry Moore: 60 Years of His Art, 14th May - 25th September 1983, cat. no.45 (terracotta version);
Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Museum, The Art of Henry Moore: Sculptures, Drawings and Graphics 1921-1984, 1986, cat. no.46 (terracotta version), with British Council tour to Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka;
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Henry Moore 1898-1986, 1992, cat. no.72 (terracotta version);
Budapest, Museum of Fine Art, Henry Moore, 16th April - 30th May 1993, cat. no.67 (terracotta version);
Bratislava, Galerie Mesta, Henry Moore, 1993, cat. no.67 (terracotta version), with tour to České Muzeum Výtvarných, Prague;
Krakow, Galeria BWA, Henry Moore: Retrospektywa, 8th March - 7th May 1995, cat. no.57 (terracotta version), with tour to Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw;
Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Ceini, Henry Moore: Sculptures, Drawings and Graphics, 1995, cat. no.57 (terracotta version);
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Henry Moore: l' expression première, 3rd May - 2nd September 1996, cat. no.49 (terracotta version);
Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle, Henry Moore: Ursprung und Vollendung, May - September 1996, cat. no.49 (terracotta version);
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Henry Moore Retrospective, 3rd July - 5th November 2002, cat. no.96, illustrated (terracotta version);
London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery, 12th May - 12th September 2004, cat. no.16, illustrated (terracotta version);
Paris, Musee Bourdelle, Henry Moore et La Mythologie, 19th October 2007 - 2nd February 2008, cat. no.29, illustrated (terracotta version).


David Sylvester (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, Vol.1, Sculpture 1921-48, Lund Humphries, London, cat. no.231, p.14, illustrated p.146 (terracotta version);
David Mitchinson et al., Celebrating Moore, Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, Lund Humphries, London, 1998, cat. no.143, illustrated p.209;
John Hedgecoe, Monumental Vision: The Sculpture of Henry Moore, Collins & Brown, London, 1998, cat. no.234, illustrated (terracotta version).

Catalogue Note

"This small-scale terracotta is one of the most realistic yet monumental of his original ideas.  It has the direct textural appeal of something made entirely by his own hands ...This version has all the calm symbolic dignity and sheer beauty of form that I also see in his later carving for Harlow in 1954-55" (John Read, Celebrating Moore, Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, Lund Humphries, London, 1998, pp.209-10).

The Family Groups are one of Moore's most important subjects and, with only one exception, were made during the brief period of 1944-48.  Of the seventeen versions on the theme, fifteen are small maquettes varying in size from five to eight inches and two are of a larger scale.

The concept itself developed over several years, as Moore explains: 'The idea of the family group crystallised before the war. Henry Morris, the Director of Education for Cambridgeshire, asked me to do a sculpture for the Impington Village College, the first of the modern schools in England. It had been designed by Walter Gropius. As the College was going to be used for adult education as well, the idea of connecting parents and children came into my mind. I think that the first family group drawings and maquettes were done in 1935-6, although I didn't actually make the full-size sculpture until later' (Moore quoted in John Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision, The Sculpture of Henry Moore, Collins and Brown, London, 1998, p. 163).

Although the project was never realised due to lack of funding, the artist carried on exploring this theme in numerous drawings, most of them made in bomb shelters in London during World War II. The theme represents the mood of the country following the war: a close knit group, morally upholding the re-birth of a nation following the ravages of the early 1940s. The series reflected both Moore's wish for peace and harmony in the post-war world and his expression of happiness prior to the birth of his daughter Mary. The artist said of this series: 'The family group ideas were all generated by drawings: and that was perhaps because the whole family group idea was so close to one as a person; we were just going to have our first child Mary, and it was an obsession' (Moore quoted in Julie Summers, Henry Moore: From the Inside Out, Munich, 1996).

Discussing this important series in the context of the artist's œuvre, Will Grohmann wrote: 'With the Family Group theme Moore regained his freedom since the commissions received were less restricting. He started working on these groups at about the same time as the Madonna. In the years 1944 to 1947 he produced a number of larger and smaller variations in stone, bronze and terracotta, differing considerably from one another, being both naturalistic and non-naturalistic, though never as abstract as the Reclining Figures. The theme does not hem him in, but demands a certain readiness to enter into the meaning of a community such as a family' (Will Grohmann, Henry Moore, London, 1960, p.141).

Modern & Post-War British Art