Explore the Studios & Gardens
Find out more about what you can see on a visit to our Hertfordshire site, and see upcoming events.
Visit the gardens where Moore created his world-famous sculptures. Share in the artist’s experience of viewing his work in the landscape ‘in changing light and weather’ and ‘so that near to, and far away it reads as three dimensional form.’
Henry Moore loved to work out of doors. As soon as he moved to Hoglands in Hertfordshire with his wife Irina in 1940, they set about adapting the gardens to this purpose. Over the years, they transformed adjacent rough farmland to create our sculpture gardens, which now cover almost 70 acres of lawns, orchard, woodland and sheep fields.
Moore found inspiration in nature and he used the land around his home as a practical working space. This emphasised the connection between his sculpture and the landscape. He experimented with siting his works in fields, against sky and trees. Moore enjoyed seeing his work in diverse settings around the world, but at home with Irina, he created the ideal conditions for its appreciation.
Each year, around twenty of Moore’s sculptures are displayed in the gardens. Many more can be found inside the studios. Many of these are the artist’s own casts, which he entrusted to the Foundation’s care.
Experience Moore’s network of studios located throughout the gardens – spaces which facilitated a lifetime of creativity. Different studios were used for different activities, from creating small models and enlarging plasters to carving, drawing and printmaking.
The studios provide a glimpse into Moore’s world and bring us as close as possible to his working methods and practices.
When Moore first moved to Hoglands in 1940, he immediately began to convert this former stable building into a studio. It became his primary workspace for the next fifteen years. It was referred to as the ‘Top’ studio to distinguish it from those he would later develop further down the estate. In the 1940s and 1950s this was where Moore made his maquettes (small study models for developing sculptures), plaster enlargements, drawings and some of his most iconic carvings, including those for Northampton, Harlow and Battersea Park, London.
Tucked behind the Top Studio this small room had previously been the village shop. Moore first adapted it into a studio for making maquettes, the models in which he could develop his sculptural ideas. In 1970, Moore created the Bourne Maquette Studio and began using this space for his experiments in printmaking. Moore made several significant series of etchings including thirty-eight prints inspired by an elephant skull he had in the studio.
Yellow Brick Studio
This multifunctional studio was created in 1958 to serve as a sculpture store, a space for photography and showing work to clients, and primarily as a carving studio. Here, with assistants, Moore created the last of his large reclining figures in elm wood and completed work on several stone carvings. Since 1957 Moore had worked closely with stone merchants in Italy. He visited each summer to supervise preliminary work before the carvings were sent to Perry Green for finishing in the Yellow Brick Studio over the winter.
Moore wanted to work on large sculpture outdoors, in natural light and in all weathers. In 1963, with builder Frank Farnham, he constructed his first Plastic Studio. It was a large metal structure about 15 meters high encased in corrugated plastic and sheets of polythene, accompanied by a smaller studio a third of its size. Moore needed the larger space to work on a monumental scale, while the smaller studio held the enlargement models. Designed to be temporary, Moore had several plastic studios during his lifetime. They often came in pairs.
Bourne Maquette Studio
The Bourne Maquette Studio, named after a nearby stream, was constructed in 1970. Moore created an environment rich in inspiration. He lined the walls with hundreds of his sculptural studies – finished, incomplete and fragmented – and his ‘library of natural forms’ – the collection of bones, stones, shells and driftwood which captured his imagination and informed his work. From the studio window Moore observed the sheep in the fields beyond, which he immortalised in his famous ‘Sheep Sketchbook’ in 1972.
The Summer House
Moore acquired the summer house in 1951, siting it in the garden near Hoglands. Moore was a prolific draughtsman producing more than 7,500 drawings during his lifetime. For a short period in the 1950s, he used the summer house as an informal space for drawing, connected to the outdoors and with plenty of natural light. Originally mounted on a turntable, it could be rotated to change views and find the best conditions at different times of the day.
The Aisled Barn
In 1980, Moore purchased this beautiful sixteenth-century barn which he had carefully reconstructed near his studios. The same year, he began working with West Dean Tapestry Studio in Sussex to create a group of tapestries based on his drawings, which he wanted to hang in the timbered bays of the barn.
Moore had always been interested in the scale of his work and translating one medium into another. In 1980, he selected drawings from throughout his career which he felt would be suitable for enlargement into tapestry.
He worked closely with highly skilled weavers from the West Dean Studio to translate the original drawings into wool, tasking them to capture the colour and tonality of his works. Each tapestry took several months to complete as they dyed wool to accurately achieve the different effects of Moore’s drawing media.
Hoglands: Henry Moore’s home
In 1940, after their home in London was damaged in the Blitz, Henry and Irina Moore moved to Perry Green in rural Hertfordshire. They were able to rent half of a former farmhouse, by the name of Hoglands, in the centre of the hamlet.
At first, the Moores shared the house with another family, but the sale of a 1939 elmwood Reclining Figure – for £300 to fellow artist Gordon Onslow Ford – soon allowed them to buy the whole house, including the gardens and outbuildings, which became Moore’s studios.
Henry and Irina remained at Hoglands for the rest of their lives. Moore acquired more land, piece by piece, and added more studios. Irina created a beautiful and vibrant garden – a perfect backdrop to her husband’s work. Hoglands was very much the centre of both family life and Henry Moore’s business.
Opening to visitors
In 2004 we were able to acquire Hoglands from Irina and Henry Moore’s daughter Mary and, after careful restoration, it was opened to visitors in 2007. The house now contains many artefacts, books and works of art that were part of Henry and Irina Moore’s personal collection. These have been kindly loaned to the Foundation by the Moore family.
You can take a guided tour of the house, which is open from 11:15 to 16:15 Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays. Tickets are £6 each and are available from the ticket desk when you arrive. As the rooms inside the house are quite small, we limit each tour to 8 people.
Please note: Hoglands will be closed to visitors on Saturday 24 May 2023
“We’re here at a village called Much Hadham in Hertfordshire. Do you know this part? It’s surprisingly pretty & unspoilt for so near to London (27 mls). I think we may stay here for some time.”
Henry Moore in a letter to Jane Clark
Henry Moore Archive
The world’s leading resource on Henry Moore, containing publications, correspondence, photographs and exhibition material.