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The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is closed for refurbishment until Summer 2024.

See & Do


Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing

Studios & Gardens, Hertfordshire

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Sketche of a person sleeping with their arms raised behind their head. It has been made using pencil, black pen, and blue and yellow watercolour wash.

Discover another side to Henry Moore in the largest exhibition of his drawings in over 40 years.

Henry Moore is best known for his sculpture: for his large scale bronze works on display in cities throughout the world, for his semi-abstact carvings and representations of the female form. But it was, in fact, thanks to an exhibition of his Shelter drawings at the National Gallery in 1942 that Moore first received widespread recognition in Britain. This new exhibition, featuring over 150 drawings, explores his prolific career on paper.

“Drawing, even for people who cannot draw, even for people not trying to produce a good drawing, makes you look more intensely.”

Henry Moore

The exhibition begins with Moore’s life studies of the 1920s, and ends with his rarely seen, but surprisingly fine late drawings of the 1970s and early 1980s. The works on display guide you through a continually expanding range of ideas, techniques and formal languages.

Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing includes examples of preparatory studies and ideas for sculpture. It also features copies of works by artists Moore admired, from Picasso to El Greco, Rembrandt and the French Impressionists. Alongside these are studies of the human figure, animals, the landscape and the weather, portraits, and designs for textiles and magazine covers. The exhibition also presents a large collection of Moore’s more famous drawings, including the two series in which he chronicled wartime Britain.

Moore was an exceptionally talented draughtsman, producing a body of nearly 7,500 drawings over seven decades. He found that its eclecticism and ease of use made drawing an ideal medium for a wide range of purposes. From a tool to study natural forms or the work of other artists, to means for the development of new sculpture, this exhibition explores the many different ways in which he used drawing. For Moore, drawing was not merely a means to an end, but also a medium for finished artwork in its own right – so much so that he was sometimes referred to as a ‘sculptor and painter’.

Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing features works from our own collections and loans from the Tate, British and International museums and private collectors. The exhibition will be accompanied by a new, richly illustrated book exploring Henry Moore’s career in drawing.

Works in the exhibition

Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing brings together over 100 drawings, made over seven decades. Most of the drawings are from the collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, but the exhibition also includes important loans from Tate, Imperial War Museums, the British Museum and the Henry Moore Family Collection.


View list of works in our online catalogue

Visit us

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens

Experience Henry Moore’s iconic work in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside with a visit to the artist’s former home, studios and sculpture gardens.

Perry Green
SG10 6EE
United Kingdom

T:  01279 843 333