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Archive 30 2021: Favourite Items

Every April the Archives and Records Association lead a hashtag campaign on Twitter to publicise the fascinating collections held in archives across the UK, Ireland and internationally.

Each day of the month has a theme that archives can use to highlight items from their collection. On Wednesday 14 April 2021 the theme was 'Favourite Items'. Theses are some of the Henry Moore Archive teams' favourite items in their care.

Emma Stower: Archive Manager

Some of the gifts the Henry Moore Archive receive are really fun! 

Like the Kodak Kodaslide I stereo slide viewer, which was gifted to our collection and is one of my favourite items.  Produced by Kodak in the mid-1950s as a companion to the Kodak Stereo Camera.  It enables you to view two slides simultaneously to create a 3d image.  And check out the batteries which were miraculously still intact.

Inside the box is a set of scenic slides of parks in Florida and views of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, taken in 1962.  Many of which are of Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman 1957-58 (LH 428) which is still sited there to this day. 

Emily Unthank: Image Archive Coordinator

My favourite item in the archive comes from our photographic collection. It’s a small black and white photograph by Alfred Cracknell measuring 211 x 150 mm of Henry Moore’s early sculpture Suckling Child.

Moore made this small cast concrete sculpture in 1927. It was exhibited as part of his first solo show at the Warren Gallery, London in 1928. Its current whereabouts is unknown.

It’s a beautiful sculpture and one of my favourite photographs, as I feel the photographer has successfully captured the tender bond between mother and child. The dark background really draws you in to share this intimate moment.

The print itself is a wonderful object, it’s very fragile but has great depth of tone and presence, the verso is filled with notes adding to the object’s story.

Joe Kitchen: Licensing Assistant

Two of my favourite items in the archive are a pair of wine bottles. The first of these was bottled in 1964, for Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. Every year since 1945, Mouton Rothschild has commissioned a notable artist to design the label for their wine bottles. 1964 was Moore’s turn, joining artists such as Salvador Dali and Georges Braque, and soon to be followed by Miro, Chagall, and Picasso. More recent contributors include Anish Kapoor in 2009, and David Hockney in 2014. The more recent bottle is from a 1989 Henry Moore exhibition in Martigny, Switzerland, bottled by Caves Orsat, a local winery, and features a sculpture by Moore on the label. Sadly, both bottles have long been emptied!

Charlotte Bullions: Image Archive Coordinator

My favourite item is this Standard 8mm cinefilm footage of Henry Moore carving the large elm Reclining Figure (LH 452) in his studio in the early 1960s. I like the way Moore stops and looks at his work – checking the reversed angle in a mirror so he can correct if needed. I enjoy the way Moore’s tie, which could so easily be removed, is neatly tucked into his shirt. I love the rhythmic movement of the carving and only wish we could hear the sound!    

This wonderful clip comes from the Frank and John Farnham Archive Collection. Frank was Moore’s Foreman, who oversaw the technical requirements in moving the monumental works of art.

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Cinefilm footage of Henry Moore at work in 1964. From the Frank Farnham Archive.
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As well as an enthusiastic admiration for cranes, trains and automobiles, Frank loved his cine-cameras and thanks to him the Henry Moore Archive now has some 14hrs worth of, largely unseen, frustratingly silent footage of Moore at work at Perry Green and his sculptures being installed on national and international exhibition.

These films also record early education visits to the grounds by college students, as well as those made by private collectors, both often toured around the sculptures on the estate by the artist himself. 

The films help document changes to the grounds, when more land was acquired, planting schemes and temporary studios erected. This unique archive collection helps both internal and external research into the life and work of one of the world’s leading 20th Century sculptors and caring for it for the future is part of the archive’s ongoing digitisation programme.

You can watch more footage from the Frank and John Farnham Archive on our Film and Audio page