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Our friend Susan Crowe posted an appreciation of Henry Moore recently on her excellent arts blog, ARTNPerspective.

That got me thinking. Henry Moore statues seem to be so ubiquitous in England that I give them little attention for the most part when I come across them, but it was a different story at Dartington College of Arts in Devon.

This work, Memorial Figure, was commissioned in 1945 in tribute the first Arts Administrator of the college, Christopher Martin. Moore was well aware of the surroundings within which his work to be placed, and this piece reflects the feminine, undulating hills of the Devon countryside within which Dartington Hall and its grounds are situated.

Its actual placing in the garden offsets the curvaceous stonework with considerably more angularity. Both the rising steps of the lawn terrace and the extraordinary pine tree that grows from the base convey a geometry that seems to overwhelm the statue as its sits atop the hill. Only when you are drawn closer to it – and you are drawn to that small brown plinth you can in the lower center of the bottom photograph – does the warmth of the figure emerge.

There is a promininent peacefulness and serenity to this statue that is an attractive counterpoint to his other more abrasive work, even as all share the same fascination with curve and mass.

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