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Thin-lipped Armourer I by Henry Moore

Thin-lipped Armourer I by Henry Moore

Petersburg Press



Edition Size: 25

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches

Sheet Size: 25.25 x 20.5 cm

Reference: Auden Poems/Moore Lithographs, with essay by John Russell, British Museum Publications, London 1974, no. 74 illustrated. David Mitchinson Henry Moore Prints and Portfolios. Patrick Cramer, Geneva 2010 no. 254, illustrated p. 199


Condition: Pristine

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One of a series of 18 lithographs drawn by the artist for the Auden Poems/Moore Lithographs 1974 book and portfolio. This work is from an edition of 25 printed on vellum aside from the portfolio (edition of 75) and the book. Signed by the artist lower right in pencil; numbered 10/25 lower left in pencil.

Printed in inky black, Thin-lipped Armourer features two figures subsumed in crosshatched shadow. The figure on the left can barely be seen, and the hollows of his eyes recall a skull. Numerous Moore prints from this series include two heads, perhaps relating to the first lines of Auden’s poem Lullaby. Lullaby was the first poem Moore read for this project, which begins:

“Lay your sleeping head, my love / Human on my faithless arm; / Time and fevers burn away Individual beauty from / Thoughtful children, and the grave / Proves the child ephemeral: / But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie, / Mortal, guilty, but to me / The entirely beautiful.”

This print displays Moore’s fascination with light and dark – what he called a “…bias towards the blackness and mysterious depths.” Moore was inspired by the prints of Rembrandt and the drawings of Seurat, and even drew on his memories of viewing the Altamira cave paintings, recalling how some of the images used the shadow of candlelight on the rough surface of the rock to model light. Shortly before starting work on this series of lithographs, Moore had fallen ill, leaving him aware of his own mortality. His mood pervaded these prints with a sense of danger and foreboding.

The Auden/Moore limited edition book and portfolio were exhibited on publication at the British Museum, London, with an accompanying catalogue.

Thin-lipped Armourer I is one of a group of lithographs presented with the work of poet W.H. Auden (1907-1973). Not conceived as illustrations, Moore wanted his landscape and figure works to stand alone, complementing or contrasting with Auden’s poetry.  He and Auden were both from Yorkshire, and the dark landscapes that Moore produced for the project evoke the industrial nature and rugged moors of the area.


The Artist

Henry Moore

In the twentieth century, one of the most important and celebrated British artists was Henry Moore. Renowned for his semi-abstract monumental bronzes, these sculptures can be seen all around the world. Usually a reclining figure and more often than not suggested as feminine, his work evokes analogies between the body and the landscape. The materials Moore used for his sculptures were mainly bronze or marble.

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