An Ayrshire Arts Archive ~ Arts Groups and Venues

Visual Arts GroupSouth West Galleries Association Project ~ Henry Moore Touring Exhibition

Henry Moore in Scotland ~ Sculptor at Work

The exhibition of Henry Moore in Scotland, in the landscape surrounding Glasgow's Burrell Collection, was one of the highlights of the City of Culture celebrations in 1990.  This project was supported by a touring exhibition Henry Moore - Sculptor at Work, originated by the South West Galleries Association.  Both events were arranged to celebrate Glasgow's year as European City of Culture and to bring the work of this internationally renowned sculptor to a wider audience in Scotland.,

The Sculptor at Work exhibition was a collaboration between the the Henry Moore Foundation and the South West Galleries Association, supported by Glasgow District Council's Festivals Office. The show included seven 'working models', fourteen maquettes and thirty five drawings or prints. All the material was on loan from the Foundation with the exception of the Draped Reclining Figure (LH705); this piece was already in Scotland as part of the Kyle and Carrick District Council collection and, at that time, was normally on display in the courtyard of the Maclaurin Art Gallery.

The exhibition opened at the Lillie Art Gallery in Milngavie, travelling on to the Maclaurin Art Gallery, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, The Dick Institute (Kilmarnock) and Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries.

Henry Moore's Draped Reclining Figure (LH 705) came to Ayr in the summer of 1979 and was presented to the public later in the year, following a ceremony where George Younger, Secretary of State for Scotland and member of Parliament for Ayr unveiled the work.  The five granite pieces by Ronnie Rae, presently on show in Rozelle Park, were unveiled on the same occasion. 

The existence of the Moore bronze in Ayr and the location of Moore's King and Queen at Glenkiln in Dumfriesshire provided an inspiration for this project  which was designed to complement the installation of the larger works at Pollok Park.  The King and Queen was part of the collection gathered by Sir William Keswick while the Draped Reclining Figure had been an inspired purchase by the District Council, supported by a number of arts organisations and individuals in Scotland.

The touring exhibition Henry Moore, Sculptor at Work was the third and final contemporary art exhibition organised by the South West Galleries Association.  It was a collaborative venture involving five of the six association members.

Responsibilities were shared, with Liz Dent of the Lillie Art Gallery undertaking the selection of work, in collaboration with David Mitchinson and Julie Summers of the Henry Moore Foundation.  Staff at the Dick Institute undertook the transport, installation and conservation of the exhibits while Mike Bailey of the Maclaurin Trust was the exhibition administrator, arranging the finance and insurance, and editor for the exhibition catalogue. 

The exhibition administrator worked closely with the Museum and Galleries Commission and secured Government Indemnity for the project with H. M. Treasury underwriting the insurance risk. This support for an exhibition valued at more than one million pounds was a crucial aspect of the exhibition package, ensuring that the financial contribution from each gallery remained within their limited budgets.

The exhibition used maquettes and working models to demonstrate Moore's approach to sculpture.  The objects were set against a variety of prints and drawings which demonstrated Moore's 'way of seeing'. The sculpted material cover the period 1966 - 1983 while the graphic works covered the period 1966 - 1979. 

The Festival office in Glasgow produced a fine colour catalogue for Henry Moore in Scotland that included essays exploring Moore's approach to his work and his ideas on locating his work in the open air.  This catalogue included illustrations of many of the works included in the touring exhibition. Mike Bailey contributed an essay to the Burrell catalogue.

The touring exhibition had a monochrome catalogue.  The following section is based on the original catalogue essay, prepared by Mike Bailey, for the Association

Henry Moore Sculptor at Work

The collecting of everyday objects or valued treasures is a basic human activity which satisfies our innate curiosity. Our collections may be simple objects or treasures of great value which stimulate our minds and offer a measure of our wealth or experience. This exhibition celebrates the act of collection that leads to creative activity.

Moore's work was, in part, inspired by his exciting collections of natural objects.   His creativity was informed by a careful observation of both natural and human forms. Some aspects of his personal collections could be seen in the "found objects" included in the exhibition while the quality of his work might be judged from the many prints, maquettes and working models.

The exhibition examines a particular period of Moore's work; the years of maturity when he had become a sculptor of world renown. At that time he produced many prints and drawings in addition to the hand carved maquettes which are scaled up to working models and later into full scale pieces for installation in major public spaces.

The works in the display were selected to demonstrate the main themes of Moore's work. They embraced the abstract and the figurative with examples of his reclining figures and the mother and child forms.

The exhibition had four main sections; found objects, graphics, maquettes, and working models. The collections of found objects, which were taken from Moore's studios, offered an example of the material Moore might handle while drawing or planning a sculpture. The maquettes were tiny models in which the sculptor develops ideas by carving in plaster. Subsequently, these could be cast in bronze. The maquettes can be developed into the working models in this exhibition and may later be realised as large scale pieces such as those presented in the Pollok Park exhibition. Finally, Moore's graphic works which are represented by a variety of prints.

Most people, whatever their age, will have experience, perhaps unconscious, of Moore's working methods having, for example, as children, held pebbles in their hands, turning them over to enjoy the beauty of the stones with the bands of colour and fine crystals or weighing their suitability as projectiles. These simple acts are akin to Moore's investigation of nature.

'Although it is the human figure which interests me most deeply, I have always paid great attention to natural forms, such as bones, shells and pebbles etc.. Sometimes, for several years running, I have been to the same part of the seashore - but each year a new shape of pebble caught my eye, which the year before, though it was there in hundreds, I never saw.' wrote Moore.

Moore's sculptural works were often realised by carving, directly in wood and stone, or, where he was developing ideas, by carving on small blocks of plaster. The full scale works would be developed by carving in polystyrene or plaster as the first step in preparing moulds for bronze castings of the maquettes, working models or full scale works.

Moore had strong views on the scale and location of his works. In his writings, and in some early broadcasts, he made very clear what he felt about sculpture and the process of realisation.

Exhibition Launch  ~  Exhibition Catalogue  ~  Draped Reclining Figure  ~  Sculpture in Landscape  ~ Mother and Child Workshop

Back to South West Galleries Association Home Page  ~  Glasgow 1990

Ronald Rae

Henry Moore in Scotland

Catalogue illustration from Henry Moore - Sculptor at Work. A South West Galleries Association touring exhibition.  
Photograph by ©Gemma Levine and the Henry Moore Foundation.    magnify

Henry Moore O.M., R.A. (1898 - 1986).  Studio photograph of the working model, Draped Reclini
ng Figure 1976-79
(LH 705) prior to delivery to Ayr ca1979. Bronze edition of 9 (cast #2) length 990mm. Collection of South Ayrshire Council.  Photograph ©Henry Moore Foundation.    magnify 

Cover Illustration from exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore - Sculptor at Work 1990. 
Photograph ©Henry Moore Foundation.  magnify

Figure at Rozelle
Henry Moore O.M., R.A. (1898 - 1986).  Working Model for Draped Reclining Figure 1976-79 (LH 705) when sited in the Maclaurin Art Gallery courtyard ca1988. Bronze edition of 9 (cast #2) length 990mm.  

The sculpture was displayed on a temporary wooden plinth at the time of this photograph.  Collection of South Ayrshire Council.
Photograph ©MBailey.     magnify

For further information on the Draped Reclining Figure, please follow this LINK

The Network acknowledges the assistance of Mike Bailey and Rita Smith for the provision of material for this section of the website.

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