Celebrating 80 years of Henry Moore in Hertfordshire
Sunday, 20 September 2020
This weekend we are marking 80 years of Henry Moore in Hertfordshire. Henry Moore and his wife Irina moved to the hamlet of Perry Green, where our headquarters is still located, in September 1940.
Moore and Irina had been staying with a friend, the writer and politician Leonard Matters, near Much Hadham during the first weeks of the Blitz. Upon returning to London, the found that their Hampstead flat and studio had been damaged in a bombing raid. They were unable to arrange repairs, due to wartime shortages, so they went back to this now much loved area of the countryside renting part of a seventeenth century farmhouse called Hoglands in Perry Green.
In a letter to his friend Arthur Sale dated 19th September, Moore notes:
“We expect to move into the cottage we've found here tomorrow, - it'll take us some time to feel settled in it and to make it comfortable”
Less than 30 miles from London, the cottage was near enough to London for Moore to travel backwards and forwards to carry out his work as a war artist: spending the night in the shelters and returning to Perry Green in the day to work on his drawings.
“We’re here at a village called Much Hadham in Hertfordshire. Do you know this part? It’s surprisingly pretty and unspoilt for so near to London (27 miles). I think we may stay here for some time. We’ve taken a house here that happened to be to let – or rather it’s half a house, but self-contained and Irina has the full use & control of the very neglected garden which she’s enjoying playing about in & trying to put into order – although it will be a long time before there can be any results from he efforts, & by then we may no longer be here. […]
It’s easy to get to London & I go up once or twice each week when there’s anything to be seen to – & perhaps also out of morbid curiosity, & a strange subdued excitement there is being in London now. […]
We’re beginning to feel more or less settled down here & I’ve got back to some drawing & I am enjoying it. I’ve joined the Home Guard here, & go out on Night duty patrolling the country lanes twice a week ”
The move was initially intended to be temporary but must have proved a success as, a few months later the Moore's bought the whole property when it was offered for sale. Their deposit was provided by the timely sale of Moore’s sculpture Reclining Figure (LH 210).
Henry and Irina Moore remained in Perry Green for the rest of their lives. Moore acquired more land, piece by piece, adding more studios and the estate, now Henry More Studios & Gardens, covers over 70 acres and remains an important record to how he worked and lived.
Henry Moore Studios & Gardens
Dane Tree House
T: +44 (0)1279 843 333
31 March to 31 October
Open: Wednesdays to Sundays and Bank Holidays, 11am to 5pm
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays