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The Helmet
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015 /

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The Helmet 1939 - 1940

Not on display

This is the first in a long series of sculptures by Moore to feature one form enclosed within another. A strange figure stands inside the helmet which is half-protective and half-menacing. There are several sources for this piece. It relates to Moore's mother-and-child drawings in which the child is protected by the mother's arms. It also relates to his drawings of shells, in which a complex internal structure is contained within a simpler outer form. Moore was also involved with Surrealism at this period, and was influenced by the idea of the mind being an independent 'being' contained within a head. More specifically, in 1937, Moore had made studies of an ancient Greek helmet with eye-like holes pierced in the top.

Glossary Open


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.



  • Acc. No. GMA 3602
  • Medium Lead
  • Size 29.10 x 18.00 x 16.50 cm (excluding base)
  • Credit Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund (Scottish Fund) and the Henry Moore Foundation 1992