Visual Arts In Ayrshire

South West Galleries Association Project~ Henry Moore Touring Exhibition

Henry Moore in Scotland ~ Sculptor at Work



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Henry Moore in Scotland ~ Sculptor at Work


1.   Henry Moore O.M., R.A. (1898 - 1986).  Studio photograph of the working model, Draped Reclining 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.


2.   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 99pmm. The sculpture was displayed on a temporary wooden plinth at the time of this photograph.  Collection of South Ayrshire Council.   
Photograph ©MBailey. 




Draped Reclining Figure in Ayr

Moore’s first exploration of the possibilities of drapery in connection with figurative sculpture took place in the early 1950s, when the demands of a specific commission combined with his free use of plaster in preparation for the casting of the work in bronze culminated in Draped Reclining Figure 1952–53 (LH 336).

This successfully added the contours of natural forms as well as a distinct hint of classicism to the repose of his figures, yet preserved that sense of immutability conveyed by the Mexican Chacmool figures that had so profoundly influenced the younger artist.

Made towards the end of his life, the travertine Draped Reclining Figure 1978 (LH 706) can be seen as a reworking of the 1950's piece in which all the characteristic features of the original are still evident: the upright neck and head supported on powerful elbows, the repetition of this shape in the draped and elevated knees, the pronounced adherence of the sculpture to its base, even the woman’s distant gaze.

In this working model (LH505), we can see how the figure’s poise and Moore’s apparently ad hoc scorings to represent the drapery in marble were clearly planned before carving began, showing his intention to create a satisfying – yet logical – pendant to the earlier bronze.

Works by Henry Moore may be found in the collections at Aberdeen, Ayr, Edinburgh and Glenkiln, Dumfriesshire. The other cast of this work is located at the Civic Centre in Castleford, Moore's home town.

[Information based on material available from the ©Henry Moore Foundation. Image number 2 was included in the exhibition catalogue Henry Moore in Scotland 1990 ISBN 0901557684 organised by the 1990 Glasgow Year of Culture festival staff.]


How the sculpture came to Ayr

William Lockhart, Principal Teacher of Art at Ayr Academy, was one of Mrs Maclaurin's Curators.  An enthusiastic supporter of open access to the visual arts, he was a regular visitor to the gallery with groups of pupils from his school. 

Lockhart was eager to see the Maclaurin Trust fulfilling an obligation to apply investment income to the purchase of works to form a permanent collection.  By 1979 he had persuaded the Curators that they might consider purchasing a work by Henry Moore as the first acquisition.  Lockhart visited Moore at Perry Green and three works were identified as suitable in scale and concept for the gallery collection.  It was recommended that the Trust might select one of the works as their first purchase.  Eventually, it was agreed that the draped reclining figure would be the most appropriate selection. 

Councillors Stevenson and Macdonald were among the local authority elected members appointed to the Trust and they were enthusiastic supporters of the Henry Moore project.

As reported elsewhere on the web site, when the Trust decided not to pursue the purchase, the local authority stepped into the breach and ensured that the work found a place in Ayr.