Henry Moore Studios and Gardens
Henry Moore is arguably one of Britain’s most important artists. Even if you’re not familiar with his work, there’s no doubt you will have experienced it at some point, scattered as it is across Britain, and indeed the world. The Henry Moore Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire is home to an expansive collection of Moore’s works, incorporating around 1,500 art pieces and between 800 and 900 sculptures, including maquettes. Moore himself lived on the site in his former home – Hoglands – and worked prolifically in studio space housed in out buildings. After many years living and working here Moore gradually acquired more of the land – and it is here that you’ll find some of his most impressive and awe-inspiring works, some of them sharing their space with sheep in the outer fields.
We visited the centre before it opens to the public for its summer season on Friday 30th March, and enjoyed a preview of this year’s special exhibition – Out of the Block: Henry Moore Carvings. The retrospective includes some never before seen super-8 film of Moore, containing footage of him choosing marble from a quarry in Italy, and working on one of the sculptures that can be found at the exhibition. Recent additions designed by Hugh Braughton Architects include a visitors’ centre and new corten-clad archive building.
Moore’s art was focused on three main areas – Mother & Child, Recline Figure and Internal & External. His work would be compiled through either subtraction (carvings from stone or wood) or addition (adding materials to found objects such as bone). A firm believer in documenting everything he did, Moore was constantly conscious of how his work was being received by the public. The archive houses over one million documents collected by him over his lifetime. Moore worked hard – his days were structured and full – an ethos that undoubtedly led him to create so many pieces. But he would also be sure to break for tea every day at 11am, a tradition that is upheld by the team here still to this day.