West Wind 1928-29 (LH58)


length 228.6cm
Portland stone

In 1928, I agreed to carve a relief for the Underground Building at St James’s, although I had never felt any desire to make relief sculpture. Even when I was a student I was totally preoccupied by sculpture in its full spatial richness, and if I spent a lot of time at the British Museum in those days, it was because so much of the primitive sculpture there was distinguished by complete cylindrical realisation. I was extremely reluctant to accept an architectural commission, and a relief sculpture symbolised for me the humiliating subservience of the sculptor to the architect, for in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the architect only thought of sculpture as a surface decoration, and ordered a relief as a matter of course. But the architect of the Underground Building was persuasive, and I was young and when one is young one can be persuaded that an uncongenial task is a problem that one doesn’t want to face up to. So I carved this personification of the North [later called West] Wind, cutting as deeply as the conditions would allow – to suggest sculpture in the round.

Henry Moore quoted in Sculpture in the Open Air: A Talk by Henry Moore on his Sculpture and its Placing in Open-Air Sites, edited by Robert Melville and recorded by the British Council 1955: typescript; copy in HMF library