Henry Moore’s Wartime Sketchbook

'Basement shelter' by Henry Moore from his Wartime Sketchbook.

Henry Moore, who had been gassed during the First World War, was initially reluctant to record the people of London enduring the Blitz.

There was tension in the air. [People] were a bit like the chorus in a Greek drama telling us about the violence we don’t actually witness.

Kenneth Clarke, Director of the National Gallery, persuaded him to maintain a Wartime Sketchbook. Moore always drew his sketches from memory, not wanting to intrude on those he observed.

Later Clark declared that he was certain that they will ‘always be considered the greatest works of art inspired by the war’. Henry Moore’s Wartime Sketchbook can be seen at the The New York Society Library.

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Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: