Henry Moore, Two Women: Drawing for sculpture combining wood and metal

England, AD 1939

Exploring ideas that he was to develop in his sculpture

Drawing played a major role in Henry Moore's work throughout his career. He used it to generate and develop ideas for sculpture, and to create independent works in their own right.

During the 1930s the range and variety of his drawing expanded considerably, starting with the 'Transformation Drawings' in which he explored the metamorphosis of natural, organic shapes into human forms. At the end of the decade he began to focus on the relationship between internal and external forms, his first sculpture of this nature being Helmet (Tate Collections) of 1939.

Two Women was based on a pencil study entitled Ideas for Lead Sculpture. It reflects his awareness of surrealism and psychoanalytical theory as well his abiding interest in ethnographic material and non-European sculpture; the particular reference in this context is to a malangan figure (malangan is a funeral ritual cycle) from New Ireland province in Papua New Guinea, which had attracted his interest in the British Museum.

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Henry Moore, Two Women: Drawing for sculpture combining wood and metal

© 2001 The Henry Moore Foundation. This image must not be reproduced without prior consent from the Henry Moore Foundation


More information


A. Wilkinson, The drawings of Henry Moore, exh. cat. (Tate Gallery, London, 1977)

K. Clark, Henry Moore drawings (London, Thames and Hudson, 1974)

A. Garrould (ed.), Henry Moore: complete drawings, vol. 2 (London, Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 1994)


Height: 449.000 mm
Width: 377.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1988-3-5-5


Image reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation (www.henry-moore-fdn.co.uk)


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