Henry Moore’s Collection of Coalmining drawings go on show at St Alban’s Museum+Gallery

Image: Pit Boys at Pit Head, 1942, Wakefield Permanent Art Collection. Image Courtesy of The Hepworth Wakefield.

When we think of Henry Moore we think of his sculptures of women, of his sleek abstract forms – also of his 1940 blitz drawings. What is less well known is that Moore was the son of a miner from Castleford in Yorkshire and that Moore produced drawings of the men working at the Wheldale Colliery where his father had worked.

In 1942 Moore pitched up at the Wheldale Colliery and spent the week sketching the miners. One can only imagine what it was like sketching in the dark, thousands of feet underground.

Thereafter, Moore drew from memory. The project, commissioned by the ‘War Artists’ Advisory Committee’  took him six months to complete.

This seems a fascinating exhibition, revealing Moore’s little known drawings and sketches. The 100 works on paper show the challenging conditions the miners endured as they contributed to Britain’s war effort.

Alongside these works, there will be some Moore sculptures and other works-on-paper. Opens 16th December 2022.


Henry Moore: Drawing in the Dark exhibition runs from 16 December 2022 to 16 April 2023 at the Museum + Gallery. Open daily 11am – 5pm. 

Find out more at: www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk @stalbansmuseums  

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