National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

Artist’s Lives is an oral history project run by the National Life Stories based at The British Library. The Henry Moore Foundation provides funding for interviews with acclaimed sculptors and the Institute’s staff are involved both in advising on interviewees and conducting interviews themselves.

Interviews are generally conducted at the artist’s home or studio and are more akin to informal conversations than standard interviews, covering both the artist’s professional life and their family history. This approach makes it possible to document a vast body of material that would otherwise have fallen out of the art historical record. The story of each artist interweaves with those of their contemporaries, offering different perspectives on turning points in twentieth-century British art history, it’s leading players, personal friendships and private rivalries.

The sculptor’s lives recordings supported by the Foundation are available in the Institute’s library and a selection of interviews ‘The Sculptor Speaks’ is available from our bookshop. Our close links with the NLS led Jon Wood to develop a session for the AHH’s annual conference in 2006 on the Artist Interview with Dr Rob Perks (Director of the NLS) and Bill Furlong (Audio Arts)

Interviews conducted by Institute Staff to date:

Kirstie Gregory
Rob Ward (2010)

Ann Sproat
Michael Lyons (2011)

Dr Jon Wood
Josefina de Vasconcellos (2000)
Gillian Wise (2001)
Bill Woodrow (2003)
Raymond Mason (2003)
Tony Cragg (2004)
Mel Gooding (2007)
Bruce McLean (2008)

Former employees:

Dr Penelope Curtis
Michael Kidner (1996)
Liliane Lijn (1999)
Eric Peskett (1995)

Denise Raine
Laurence Burt (2005)

Dr Matthew Withey
Roland Piche (2004)

Victoria Worsley
Ian Breakwell (2004)
John Hilliard (2007)