‘All these large one-man shows of my work could not have taken place without the essential help of the British Council - in consequence, and fortunately for me, my work is well known outside England.’ -
HENRY MOORE, LETTER TO MARGARET THATCHER, 1979
Henry Moore is one of the most influential sculptors of the XX century, and the British Council played a special role in establishing Moore’s reputation and international profile. We have collected artist’s works and organised his solo exhibitions all around the world for about 70 years so far.
In 1984 Henry Moore gave over 200 prints to the British Council as a fiftieth anniversary present, to augment our existing collection. A Mother and Child portfolio was donated in 1989. We now own the world’s third biggest collection of Henry Moore’s works which is outside a gallery or a museum.
‘Interviewed by the BBC’s Barry Penrose in 1976, Moore remarked ‘the British Council did more for me as an artist that any dealer’; an intense programme of exhibitions in all parts of the world - from New Zealand to Jamaica, Iceland to Iran - indicates that no artist was more powerfully promoted by the British Council.
The special role played by our Fine Arts Department in establishing Moore’s international reputation was well acknowledged by the artist. In 1979, when the very existence of the Council was threatened by a series of draconian financial cuts, he was strident in its defence.
It is now seventy years since the British Council first sent Moore’s work overseas.' – by Katrina Schwarz, curator (extract from the exhibition’s catalogue).