Henry Moore

1 Aug

Today I went to see the Henry Moore textile exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich.

art should be part of everyday life

Although mainly known for his sculptures, Moore also designed in textiles for clothing and upholstery.  This exhibition shows his textile art from the 1940s and ’50s. 

Barbed Wire by Henry Moore

In 1943 Moore began working with Zika and Lida Ascher of the Ascher Textile Business.  The Aschers, Czech refugees, had escaped the nazis and started a new life in England. 

It was the end of World War 2 and Britain celebrated with bright colours.  Together with other artists, including Henri Matisse – famous for his cut-out collage art, such as The Snail (more info. on this piece) – colourful abstract designs were produced on 36 inch square silk scarves, and as many as 60 % of these were exported from the UK worldwide.  These were handprinted adopting a new screenprinting method just for “artists” called Serigraphy.  Dye was applied through the open areas of the stencils that were fixed to a fine silk screen, through onto the fabric.  Other materials deployed included parachute nylon, cotton and rayon.  The silk scarves were hugely popular and were often framed and put on the wall instead of being used for wearable fashion.

The Aschers and Moore continued to work together producing dress and upholstery fabrics and wall hangings.


Henry Moore’s favourite subjects included abstract trains, caterpillars, sea creatures, figures, various types of masks, clocks, palm trees, treble clefs, safety pins, hand studies, sometimes with either piano keys or barbed wired running through the design.  He would “box in” elements of some designs (such as the very abstract trains), and other linear work was further simplified to basic lines, zig-zags and triangles (think of his Zig Zag [1954] piece in orange and red).

Below: photos I took of the Serigraphy in 5 colours, rayon.


1951 was the year of The Festival of Britain – my father went to this exciting event, he told me how much I would have loved it! – and although Moore hadn’t entered any of his textile art, he was showing one of his famous sculptures.

Tom Mellor, the director of David Whitehead Fabrics  noticed Moore at the 1953 Painting Into Textiles exhibition and 2 of Moore’s prints were produced.  Flatbed screenprinting was used, and inspired by The Festival of Britain, the designs were mainly “painterly“.


This exhibition runs 22nd Jun 2010 – 29th Aug 2010.

Click the above link (This exhibition) to be taken to the museum’s page for info.  Disabled parking just outside the door, they were very accommodating to me.


More interesting links – – –



Copyright Stephanie Faith 2010  

Photograph, Barbed Wire, the property of Matt Pia


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: