It is interesting to be back in England so soon after my Christmas visit and to be greeted everywhere by the magnificent English spring.
Glorious flowers, blossoms, green, green grass, trees in full leaf – the English spring is very different from the Australian spring I experience in northern NSW. It is still cold but warming up and I keep shedding layers of clothing through the day.
Grandchild number four is rapidly becoming a little charmer and numbers one two and three are absolutely full of energy and curiosity – it is special to be able to get back to see them regularly and to go to their schools, the pantomime “The Hungry Caterpillar” and watch cricket played on the green.
This visit overseas however, is centred on exploring art and artists, and today I was taken by my lovely daughter – in – law to visit the great English sculptor, Henry Moore’s magnificent home and studio. I knew of Henry Moore as one of the great English sculptors of the 20th century but I had no idea just how extensive his art practice was and how fascinating – sculpture in marble, stone and bronze of course, but also painting, drawing, etching, printmaking, tapestry and wood carving.
The artist’s house is just as it was when Moore lived and worked there with his wife, Irina.
He was enormously successful during his lifetime – something of a rarity among artists and when he became successful he had to employ a secretary and assistant and build a reception room for the constant visitors and clients – a very comfortable sitting room furnished in largely 1960s style, it contains a wealth of valuable work by himself and other artists as well as an amazing variety of found objects – bones, fossilised mud and pieces of flint. These found objects were often inspiration for his organic forms and he might add pieces of plaster to create new ideas for sculpture.
The grounds are extensive and at this time of year green and surrounded by hedges, blossoms and wildflowers. Scattered around the acreage are monumental statues – massive and tactile. In the sheep field the sheep find one group of sculptures a convenient shelter and add to the decorative element!
Lunch in an English pub close by
with my daughter-in-law, Zoë completed an idyllic day.