Henry Moore’s shelter sketches are considered by many to be his finest achievement as a draughtsman. They were made in the tunnels of the London Underground where residents sought shelter from bombing raids during the Battle of Britain. They evince both the characteristic smooth contours of Moore’s sculptures and the humaneness he sought to achieve in all of his art. At this time Moore was an Official War Artist, a salaried position awarded to him at the urging of the art critic Kenneth Clark.

This portfolio, assembled in 1967 by Moore and the Marlborough art gallery, is based on the actual sketchbook made by Moore during the war. The cataloguing entry from the British Museum for the original reads as follows, and in a subtle way portrays the uncertainty of life and possessions during that traumatic time:

[A] sketchbook containing sixty-seven leaves, on acquisition disbound, in a brown paper cover on the verso of which is written: “If found please return to:” followed by the artist’s name and address written in block capitals.

The original sketchbook is pen & ink and graphite, with green, red, and blue wax crayon and watercolor. It was recently the subject of an exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum (Winter Palace) in St Petersburg entitled “Blitz and Blockade: Henry Moore at the Hermitage.”

The portfolio offered here reproduces the original sketchbook with eighty collotypes of Moore’s World War II drawings and one original color lithograph on hand made paper signed by Moore once in the stone (in reverse) and once in pencil. It is part of a series of publications comprising French, German, Italian, and two English editions (A and B) each of 180 copies and each with one specially designed original lithograph.

 

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