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Christmas Fun, 1932

We all remember our teachers doing a skit in the end of term concert, don’t we?

In this clip, from the John Hedgecoe Interviews,  Henry Moore recalls how he, Robert Medley and Raymond Coxon took part in the Christmas concert at Chelsea School of Art, where they were all tutors at the time.

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Video credit: Henry Moore Foundation

The Archaic Greek statue that Moore is portraying on stage, was probably based on a Kouros – a freestanding depiction of a youth of noble rank. Although it isn’t currently on display, the British Museum, frequently visited by Moore as a student, owns a plaster cast of the Kouros of Tenae, which may well have been seen by Moore, as it was acquired by the museum in 1907.

The photograph of this seasonal event was taken by celebrated British photographer Edwin Smith who went on to make fine architectural images, 4,500 of which are now available to view via RIBA.

It is also worth noting that Robert Medley co-founded the Group Theatre with Rupert Doone in London in 1932. As life-long supporters of theatre, Moore and his wife, Irina, were members from 1932-1935. Moore even drew several mask designs for the players and these were used on stage in the 1935 performance of W.H Auden’s play Dance of Death.

Sadly, there aren't any photographs of the production in our collection - what we wouldn't give to have been there to see those masks in the performance!