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