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

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Reclining Figure 1951

Not on display

This sculpture was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the Festival of Britain exhibition in 1951. Moore was asked to make a carving of a family group symbolising 'Discovery', but he chose instead to make a large reclining figure in bronze. The Gallery's bronze is this original cast. Moore explained his liking for reclining figures in typically rational terms, observing that large standing figures have a weak point at the ankles. He began making reclining figures in the late 1920s, and in the late 1930s produced several small, bronze reclining figures: these established the long, sinewy form which culminated in this sculpture.

Glossary Open


The production of a sculpture by use of a mould to make a copy, usually in a more durable material, of the original work. The term is used to describe both the process and the resulting object.


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.

Festival of Britain, 1951

A nationwide celebration of Britain’s history, achievements and culture intended to boost morale after the Second World War. It included an exhibition on London's South Bank for which a series of modernist buildings were built. The visual arts featured prominently, with works commissioned from many artists including Jacob Epstein, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Eduardo Paolozzi. The Royal Festival Hall survives from the event.


The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.

Cast, Commission, Festival of Britain, 1951, Symbolism


  • Acc. No. GMA 1098
  • Medium Bronze
  • Size 106.00 x 228.60 x 73.70 cm (plinth: 92.00 x 244.50 x 88.00 cm)
  • Credit Presented by the Arts Council of Great Britain through the Scottish Arts Council 1969