Collections

About the collections

Collections display at Leeds Art Gallery, 2006

Installation view of 'Polychromies: Surface, Light and Colour'

Courtesy of Leeds Museums and Galleries

Photo: Karen Atkinson

The Henry Moore Institute oversees the administration and curatorial development of the sculpture collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries. This partnership has built one of the strongest collections of British sculpture in the country. The collections are housed next door to the Institute in Leeds Art Gallery, where the Henry Moore Institute curates the sculpture displays.

The Institute also has responsibility for sculptural works displayed at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, country houses on the outskirts of Leeds that are a part of the Leeds Museum Service. Successive directors of the Art Gallery, including Phillip Hendy (1934-45) and Robert Rowe (1958-83), helped establish a reputation for the perceptive collecting of modern and contemporary artworks.

It was with the introduction of support from The Henry Moore Foundation in 1982 through the establishment of the Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture that Leeds really confirmed its status as an international centre for the study and appreciation of sculpture.

Today the Leeds sculpture collections comprise over 800 objects, 400 works on paper and the Henry Moore Institute Archive of over 270 collections of papers relating to sculptors. The collections are principally British from c.1875 to the present day. They narrate the development of sculpture being made in Britain as broadly as possible, representing neglected practitioners as well as established ones, using the works on paper collection to represent the scope of contemporary practice alongside acquisitions of three-dimensional work. Often new acquisitions to the sculpture collection are accompanied by acquisitions to the Henry Moore Institute Archive.

In recent years there has been a particular focus on conceptual, performance, photographic and other expanded sculptural forms and definitions from the 1960s and 1970s, which traditionally have been considered difficult to collect and are underrepresented in museum collections of sculpture.

The collections actively acquire through both donation and purchase, with the sculpture and archive collections complemented by the Henry Moore Institute Research Library providing invaluable material for research on the holdings. Together the collections form a fuller teaching and study resource than any other national or regional collection, complementing the wider scholarly initiatives of the Henry Moore Institute.