The interior of the Yellow Brick Studio c. 1960
Projects for Hill Sculpture 1969
The artist’s hands with flints
Moore working on maquette for Three Way Piece No. 2: (The) Archer 1964-65
Armature for Working Model for Spindle Piece 1968-69
Plaster version of Working Model for Spindle Piece 1968-69 in progress
Moore working on polystyrene version of Large Spindle Piece 1968-69
Moving Double Oval 1966 with crane at Perry Green
These photographs, although taken at different times, give an insight into Moore's working process. Starting with sketches or found objects, he worked up progressively larger sculptures until he was satisfied. Only some of his sculptures escalated to the monumental versions you can see at Kew.
Can you identify which of these sculptures can be seen in larger form at Kew? Our Sculpture Map may help. On Moore and Landscape you will might also recognise these plaster sculptures worked into larger bronzes.
At the edge of a windswept sheep field, Moore’s tiny maquette studio can be found; an old wicker chair, cane and turntable are positioned at its core, with cardboard boxes on the floor full of flintstones and plaster odds and ends.
At the beginning of his career Moore principally carved in wood and stone. In preparation for these works he would make many sketches. After 1935 he started working on much larger pieces, and began producing small three-dimensional works, known as maquettes. Working with these models enabled him to view the composition from many angles, saving him from making numerous preliminary drawings.
When he returned to sculpture after the war Moore began making small models with a view to developing a form worthy of enlargement. He found that this technique enabled him to see the work from all angles, saving him from having to execute countless drawings to achieve the same object. From 1929 Moore lived and worked in Hampstead, London, with his wife, Irina, but when their home suffered irreparable bomb damage during the Blitz in 1940 the couple decided to move to the relative tranquillity of the Hertfordshire countryside. An unforeseen advantage of this relocation was the discovery of buried animal bones in the surrounding grounds of their new home.
Moore was fascinated by found objects such as flint stones, driftwood and animal bones. Over the years he built up an enormous collection of these natural forms, which formed the basis of many small maquettes. A selection of the most successful was enlarged - sometimes on a grand scale, as we see in the works exhibited here.