Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall

A pen and ink drawing with coloured pencils of four figures standing in a setting with brown walls i Henry Moore (1898-1986), Four Figures in a Setting, 1948, pen and black ink, coloured pencils, wax crayon, watercolour, 570 x 765 mm, Henry Moore Foundation: acquired 2011. Photo: Michael Phipps. Reproduced by permission of Henry Moore Foundation. HMF 2485

8 June – 22 Sep 2024 
The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery  

During the Blitz, from September 1940 – May 1941, crowds of people sought refuge in London’s Underground stations to escape the nightly bombardments by the German Air Force. Moved by what he saw there and in other makeshift shelters, the sculptor Henry Moore (1898 – 1986) documented these scenes in hundreds of haunting sketches known as the Shelter Drawings.

Shadows on the Wall investigates the artist’s fascination with the curved brick walls and cavernous tunnels of those spaces, taking these drawings as a point of departure for interpreting some of his post-war drawings and sculpture.

In the drawings on display, we see that Moore’s attention was absorbed as much by the spatial drama of the shelters as by the human drama of strangers forced to huddle together. The artist’s interest in representing the confining spaces and brick walls of the shelters was further developed in the wartime sketches he made in the Yorkshire coalmines and in his illustrations for a play, The Rescue.

This new visual vocabulary informed some of his most individual post-war sculpture, particularly in its relation to architecture. Two striking examples of this are Moore’s designs for a wall relief on a new building in Rotterdam, the Bouwcentrum, and the small bronze maquette featuring a figure seated in front of a wall, relating to the commission for the UNESCO building in Paris.

Shadows on the Wall is presented in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation.

The programme of displays in the Drawings Gallery is generously supported by the International Music and Art Foundation, with additional support from James Bartos.

The exhibition has been made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. The app would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.

Shadows on the Wall was conceived by Penelope Curtis, and curated with Alexandra Gerstein and Ketty Gottardo.

Included with Gallery Entry.


A Summer of Art at The app

If you are booking tickets to visit from 14 June – 1 Sept 2024, select ‘Mayne+Gallery Entry’ ticket at check out and enjoy a summer of art at The app Gallery, including:

  • Entry to Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall and Vanessa Bell: A Pioneer of Modern Art
  • Entry to Roger Mayne: Youth
  • Entry to the permanent collection

8 June – 22 Sep 2024 

10:00 – 18:00 (last entry 17:15)

The app Gallery  The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery 


“A splendid show”

The app Lates - Summer of Art

Fri 30 Aug 2024, 18:30 – 22:30

Enjoy an evening of world-class art, cocktails and music surrounded by The app’s collection of masterpieces. Join us for a last chance to see Roger Mayne: Youth and Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall after hours, plus live DJ’s and more.

i Somerset House exterior © Rory Lindsay

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The catalogue accompanying Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall is now available to purchase from The app Shop.

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