Friday, 16 September 2011

Henry Moore

Amid all the crazy stuff going on I had a little oasis of peace this week. My friend Anna and I had a day out to Perry Green to visit the Henry Moore Foundation, the Hertfordshire home of Henry Moore.


Neither of us could quite believe that we have lived so close to this amazing property for so long yet have never visited before. Our first stop was Hoglands, a timber framed farmhouse that had been home to Moore and his wife Irina from 1940 until Irina's death in 1989. No photographs allowed unfortunately, but it had been restored to appear exactly as it would have been when they were living there. We were given a personal tour of rooms full of wonderful books, amazing artefacts and fabulous artwork, including drawings from the likes of Degas, Picasso and of course Moore himself.

Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge 1976

Immediately behind the house is Irina's beautiful garden and then beyond that acres of gardens, orchards and farmland full of some of Moore's wonderful sculpture, all quite breathtaking.

Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae 1968

We were really lucky with the weather and were able to wander at our leisure. We both thought we would do some drawing but decided there was so much to take in on this first visit that we would return to do that another time.

Reclining Figure 1982

Reclining Figure 1982

Figure in a Shelter 1983

Large Figure in a Shelter 1985-86

Large Interior Form 1953-54

In the grounds, several of Moore's studios have been restored to to the way they were when he was using them, all open to visitors. One of these studios backs onto a pasture full of grazing sheep, where Henry Moore used to sit at the window and sketch them.

Studies of Sheep, Ballpoint pen, 1972

I love the sculptures and especially love all his drawings but the best for me were the tapestries hanging in one of the converted barns. In the 1940s Henry Moore worked on textile designs, many of which can be seen on the curtains hanging in Hoglands, but after that period his work was mostly sculpture. Then in the 1970s he returned to textiles, producing drawings that were made into tapestries. There began a collaboration in the 1980s with the West Dean College tapestry studio where 23 large scale tapestries were woven from Moore's original drawings.

Mother and Child Holding Apple, Tapestry, 1982-83

Moore himself was adament they should be interpretations of his drawings rather than reproductions and they work so well with a beautiful painterly quality. Absolutely stunning.

Row of Sleepers, Tapestry 1986

I can see me returning to Perry Green on a regular basis and could certainly recommend it. It was such a wonderful day out and virtually on our doorstep! I would also like to say that the staff and guides were among the most pleasant, helpful and courteous I've ever met.

Henry Moore 1898 - 1986

21 comments:

  1. My girls would love that, must find a time to visit. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. I am green with envy. Thanks for the tour - the pics are fabulous.

    The tapestry/textile design was a surprise to me. I have seen pics of the sculpture before but was unaware of the other works.

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  3. Sounds absolutely fantastic. Off to look at the map now to see when I can go there.

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  4. You 'have' to take a trip up the M1 to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, also just a few miles away in Wakefield is the Barbara Hepworth Museum. (I go A1, M18, M1)
    And I have to come south to see this one :)

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  5. Very interesting post - I didn't know about the tapestries either. The grounds of Perry Green look beautiful and you were so lucky with the weather!

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  6. What a talented man he was. I never realised he did textiles as well. I can see why you would want to go back Gina. I have a small pottery piece in front of me made by my son when he was 6 - he's known as Henry Moore due to the similarity to HM's style, which was of course unintentional at the time lol.

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  7. I feel quite ashamed to say I've never visited despite the fact that it's on my doorstep too. It looks wonderful so I shall resolve to make the time to visit - thanks for sharing the pictures.

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  8. It looks like a wonderful day out -- and perfect for a textile artist such as yourself! Thanks for all the great information!

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  9. Thanks so much fr telling us - I had no idea it as so close. We will be off there soon!

    I had no idea he produced tapestries, although my Mum has a copy of his sheep sketchbook. I used to look at it a lot when I was younger.

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  10. Thankyou for sharing this fabulous day with us Gina. It's wonderful that his home, studio and pieces of work are available to be enjoyed by the public. I have to admit to prefering sculptures with a bit more detail but recognise that Moore captures the essence of his subject. I love his sketches and the tapestries are beautiful.

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  11. Sounds like delightful day it looks so peaceful. Thanks for sharing your photos.

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  12. Looks great Gina. We are spoilt for Henry Moore as we live 5 minutes away from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the new Hepworth gallery in Wakefield has some lovely Moore work. Being a local boy - Castleford - it's nice that some of his work has remained here.
    Twiggy x

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  13. It a place I've been meaning to visit, looks well worth the trip.

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  14. Looks like a wonderful place to visit Gina. Having pleasant, helpful guides really does make for full on enjoyment. I hadn't seen the sheep sketches before but have always loved the ones of people sleeping in the underground.

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  15. Oh that sounds wonderful - I shall have to look to find out where it is and a visit should be planned. The grounds look fabulous.

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  16. Sounds lovely Gina - I've walked through the grounds a couple of times when I've been on one of my 'hikes' but must do a proper visit to the house.

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  17. very inspiring! I've been meaning to contact you for ages to say I am SURE I saw you in a newspaper for doing a banksy style instal in a phone box??? Did I imagine it? (sorry am only now doing a catch up if you did write about it on your blog!) I was on the train travelling from Devon and the lady next to me had a local paper . . . I thought there can't be two of you! I was very inspired . . .

    Thanks for stopping by - I am having a catch up today on blogs . . .

    Amelia.x

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  18. Gina,
    If I could draw like Henry Moore I'd die a happy woman. I wish I lived close enough to visit this wonderful place. You must return again and again as it looks like a source of constant inspiration. Please share again when you do!

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  19. hi there GinaGreat to catch up with all your news. Your day out must have been fab! Moira x

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  20. What a fascinating post, Gina. I love Henry Moore's sculptures but had no idea he'd also produced such beautiful sketches and textiles. I particularly like the fact that he had studios, in the plural!

    xx

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  21. What a wonderful place, I must visit!!
    I loves Henry Moores work.

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