London’s War: The Shelter Drawings of Henry Moore
Early in the Second World War, Henry Moore had to give up working on sculpture when his Hampstead studio was bombed. Instead he concentrated on drawing, creating a monumental series of works showing the plight of people sheltering in the London Underground. ‘The official shelters were insufficient’, he wrote. ‘People had taken to rolling their blankets out about eight or nine o’clock in the evening, going down into the Tube stations and settling on the platforms … It was like a huge city in the bowels of the earth. When I first saw it quite by accident – I had gone into one of them during an air raid – I saw hundreds of Henry Moore Reclining Figures.’ This is the first book to consider Moore’s visual documentation of the shelters within the context of the events of the London Blitz of 1940-41. Julian Andrews looks at Moore’s personal and political feelings about the coming war and his doubts about working as an Official War Artist, comparing Moore’s wartime drawings to works by other artists and to documentary photographs. In addition, the author considers the influence of the Shelter Drawings on people’s feelings about the Blitz and their effect on public attitudes towards Moore’s work.