Henry Moore Foundation
18/06/2021Emma Stower - Archivist
Emma Stower, Archivist for the Henry Moore Archive talks about her experiences over the 30 years she has worked with Moore's Artwork and the related material, including an extensive photographic collection that Moore himself took. The Henry Moore Foundation is based at Perry Green where the Artist set up his Studio, within a 60 acre site with sculpture gardens and purpose built archive store.
Emma talks about the ongoing digitization to improve access to the collection, the experiences of staff working with Moore and his family, and her interest in creating an oral history record of those that knew him closely.
LinksMain Site: https://www.henry-moore.org
Visit the Foundation: https://www.henry-moore.org/visit
Exhibition – This Living Hand: Edmund de Waal presents Henry Moore: https://www.henry-moore.org/whats-on/2021/05/19/this-living-hand
Henry Moore Archive Catalogue: http://catalogue.henry-moore.org/bibliography
Illustrated Catalogue of Henry Moore Artworks: http://catalogue.henry-moore.org/start
Henry Moore Archive: https://www.henry-moore.org/archives-and-library/henry-moore-archive
Please Note: This is an automated, machine-generated transcription. We have presented this 'as is' and have not undertaken any editing.Hello and welcome to the Mass Communications 2021 podcast, the CBC Podcast, where we explore various archives and collection. My name is Faith Williams, and I'm joined today by Emma Stower archivist for the Henry Moore Archive at the Studios and Gardens at Perry Green in Hertfordshire. Hello, Emma. Would you like to introduce yourself and talk about what you do at the Henry Moore archive? Hello, faith. Well, I'm the archivist for the Henry Moore Archive at Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire. I'm responsible for the management and preservation of our holdings and ensuring accessibility of our collections. I oversee a small archive team and a wonderful group of volunteers. We work with and assist researchers and any other visitors to the archive. Mm-Hmm. And this is made possible by our ongoing cataloging and digitization programs. Also, Henry Moore's work is still in copyright, so we administer licenses for the reproduction of images of his work and his written word. Now Henry Animal Studios and gardens. And the Henry Moore Institute and leads are all part of the head Moore Foundation, which Moore set up in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts. Today, the foundation supports sculpture projects, runs, an international program of exhibitions and research, and preserves the legacy of the art of Henry Moore. We also fund a variety of sculpture projects through law grants and research programs. And we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate that more gifted the foundation with an extensive collection of his artworks, which regularly tours all over the world. And you might wonder how we managed to find ourself in a sleepy hamlet in the middle of Hertfordshire, born his wife Irene, and moved to Peregrine in 1940, when the streets of their home studio in Hampstead was bombed in the Blitz. Over time, as they settled on the production of Moore's work increased. They purchased surrounding pockets of land, turning some of the buildings into studios and keeping others as accommodation for staff and his sister and Moore's assistants and animal studios and gardens now covers more than 60 acres. We're open to the public from April to October and subject to the current restrictions, as visitors can see the artist's studios, his family home and wander the sculpture gardens, as well as discover different aspects of his work in our annual exhibition. So how did you come to work for the Henry Moore Foundation? I have to say it was a very long time ago back in the late eighties, and I was looking to change my career when I was offered a job as a general assistant in the office. And as part of that job, I assisted most pay insistently. The curatorial and the accounts department, and it was a really good introduction into file management as much as anything else. And then later on, I was offered a position as creative, the curator and I answered exhibition and image inquiries and liaise with venues hosting many more exhibitions . There was a lot of archive material that needed to be sorted the the offices were moved from Moore's home in the when he set up the foundation in the Seventies. So by the time I got there, they've been in the office for about eight years. But the boxes of photographs and letters and other filing haven't been sorted, so I started organizing that material and very, very quickly find myself looking after the image archives and learning about Moore's intellectual property within his work. So. As part of my job as the arc, the image of a manager, I researched and I researched images for publications for I particular exhibition catalogs and some of our in-house publications about various aspects of Moore's work. And I was responsible for administering licenses for the use of images, quotes and excerpts of writings by more. And it was during that time I got a feel for the sheer size and scope of the image archive. Then later on in 2013, the archivist back then fell ill and I was able to lead a project to develop the Henry Moore archive. We had our holdings by then in a three bedroom, 1950s house with all the problems of humidity and temperature fluctuations. The archive materials were and had been for many years spread across the estate in different buildings, and we were running out of space for the bibliography collections. So we Putin full planning permission, which was approved in 2013, and as part of my new role, I planned and oversaw the pack up and safe storage of our holdings while the building was refurbished and extended. So we now have a beautiful, modern building with climate controlled stores and a reading room with a wonderful view of the sculpture gardens. I. Have also and now recently qualified as an archivist. Fantastic. That sounds like a lovely place to work, and I'm not surprised that you worked there for so long. What type of other material do you have to use the craft of the sculptures, or are they kind of outside of your remit? Is it mainly photography? Photography and sort of working papers that you deal with? Or what else is in the collection department, which it's Henry Moore collections and programs is responsible and based on Moore's artworks and Phil Henry Moore archive. So we have quite an extensive collection of books which more connected and which were gifted and which we've received through copyright. So when we granted publisher permission to reproduce an image of Moore's work or his words, we ask for two copies of that publication so that we can continue growing overall archive and keeping it. Up to date, we also have 175,000 letters and documents which were collected during his working life. These have all been digitized and they are searchable, which is absolutely amazing for being able to find information for researchers. In addition to our publications, we've got over 10,000 exhibition catalogs, some of those are solo exhibitions and others are group exhibitions where Moore's work was displayed with others. We also have a vast collection of sale catalogs, and these are mainly Sotheby's and Christie's, and they enable curatorial team to. Keep a record of the provenance of Moore's work, so when they come up for sale, obviously thousands of them have been sold and we try and keep up to up to date with sales so that when these works move on, we then have an idea of where they are. And we have 58,000 news articles. These have been collected through a press agency or through various press agencies. But Moore started a subscription with one in particular back in 1928, when he had his first solo exhibition at the Warren Gallery. Now, not all of the press coverage of that show was, let's say, encouraging for more, but he kept everything and we're very grateful to him that faith, good and bad has been preserved for future research. And we have one of the biggest parts of our collection is the photographic archive. So we have over 200,000 photographs, negatives and transparencies, which sounds an awful lot. But when you know how much work, how prolific Moore was as an artist, you can understand why we have so much so in his lifetime in his career, which spanned over 60 years. He produced over 900 sculptures and 10,000 drawings and graphic works, as well as a series of tapestries that he worked on with West End Studio and some textile designs as well. So thinking of the sculpture, we have photographs of most of his work from every angle that you can imagine and every stage of production. And on top of that, we have quite an extensive biographical archive. So photographs of Moore with family and friends working on the estate, looking after visitors at Peregrine on exhibition and installing exhibitions. So we we started various or we have quite a lot of digitization programs underway, which means that all digital archives is is is also growing . And somewhere in the sort of half-a-million mark, we've got a collection of film and audio recordings. Yes, and also quite an extensive exhibition poster collection, as well as Moore's own personal library, which we oversee on behalf of the the artist family. It's not owned by the foundation, but we look after it for them. And a vast number of miscellaneous items, including, rather bizarrely, a model of San Diego Zoo, which was made when more was sort of due to a proposed exhibition that might have been there. So it's it comes complete with penguins and the penguin pool. And it's rather bizarre, but it's it's great fun. And various textile items and merchandise items that have been made in conjunction with exhibitions, so on. So that's that's all collections. It's incredibly comprehensive. That really covers everything to do with the life of an artist who accesses the collection. Who do you get researching? Is that mainly art historians or do you get artists looking for inspiration? We do. We we we have a lot of them. We welcome a lot of students and art historians, as well as students at all levels writers, art historians, curators who are working on publications in conjunction with exhibitions. And we also hope our auction houses and galleries if they have queries on those works, and we do have artists who are interested in using more for inspiration. And we are hoping as part of our research program to encourage artists to come to the archive more. And some of our biggest customers and staff, we're forever liaising with them over various different projects. So we have with the curatorial team, we work with them on exhibitions, publications and presentations. We also work with the marketing team on images and quotes and other material for press and publicity. And anything else for the foundation's yearly program, we work with the enterprise team to help with imagery for new merchandise for our shop Peregrine. And in the past, we've worked with some fashion houses Portsmouth and Burberry, who were interested in using some as some of Moore's work as inspiration for their fashion campaigns. So we have some examples of the clothes that they made from those campaigns. I know they've spoken about some of the challenges that you've encountered over the years and, you know, building a temperature controlled facility and things like that, but what are your hopes for the future of the archive? Hopes for the future. We I want to progress with our digitization programs. We started by addressing the most sensitive items. Mass communications helped us with scanning some of those collections, so we have digitized all of the biographical archives, all of our color transparencies and our glass negatives. We still have, I think it's over 30,000 sculpture photographs. We have scanned a third of them, but we still have two thirds of them to scan and all of our exhibition photographs, we've scanned a few, but it's at the moment it's more supply and demand rather than actually sort of going through programs. one of the first projects that I worked on sort of archive projects was to pull together all the information that we have on the drawings. So there are photographs and transparencies and negatives there. There's correspondence. There were. Catalog cards and sort of conservation reports. And I spent about six months making a folder for every single drawing and putting everything together. And now that we have our climate controlled stores, we have started pulling those apart and storing these various different materials in the right conditions. So I'd like to complete that. And the big, crucial ways is to provide greater access to our publications and to our collections and to improve our online presence and also to encourage more research and more serious research into Henry more. We'd like to encourage a broad spectrum, not only thinking about it in isolation, within the context of many of the varied histories of the 20th century. We're keen to work with scholars interested in fostering new perspectives, something more the period and the production of art and the critical reception and also exhibition histories of the time. We we definitely don't want to be too prescriptive about the direction that this will take. And we're there to supply the resource, but not prejudice the outcomes. We're hoping to work with a number of universities and other organizations to work, to create opportunities, to undertake research and also to point people towards the grants where funds have been allocated towards research conferences and publications. We we do work with leads with our sister site, Animal Institute in Leeds, and they already have quite an established fellowship program. And where and when people approach them with a project which is fairly heavily broad based, then we might share that fellowship so they might spend part of their time in Leeds and part of that time, Peregrine, which I think is really beneficial to both sides, to both of us and also to the participants. And I suppose lastly, before I before lockdown, because I work for the foundation for quite a few years, I've built up quite of good relationships with people that knew more family, friends and associates . And I thought it would be good to record their thoughts and memories of more. So I started an oral history program and obviously it has granted to a halt over the last year, but I'm hoping to resume that very soon. Sounds like a really interesting project, for sure. What is in such a large collection? You've mentioned this fascinating zoo model, but what is your most, most interesting item? What do you favor? You must know the object intimately. What what really starves some positive thoughts for you? Well, I will always have a soft spot for the image archive. I, I know it so well, and there are so many hidden stories there. Who we've got so many mysteries to solve. Who was more within some of the photographs. What was the occasion and why was he in a certain place? Mostly, we know, but there are some gaps and I really want to encourage more research into that area. Also, Moore was an avid photographer, quite an accomplished photographer, and he photographed his work a lot. But he never signed his photographs. So there's a lot of investigation there. He didn't think it was important for people to know that he took those photographs. It was important to him to ensure that people saw his work in a way that he wanted them to see it, and I think he used photography as a medium to do that. But I think really my favorite items in the archive at the moment are the office diaries. These date back to 1955, when the office was in Moore's own home, Hoagland. And they are multi-layered. So when you look through the pages, there are family appointments. They are a real snapshot into what was going on in the estate at the time. So we've got movement of sculpture in and out of the estate. We've got visitors coming to see the mall's sort of artists and architects and actors, musicians, all caliber of people visiting some of them who knew more better with more. And I read his wife, Serena Vets would come in the weekend so they would be invited to tea on a Sunday afternoon. And there are also. Sort of all of the exhibitions that were going on at the time and more traveling to other countries to open up exhibitions, it was all recorded on these diaries. And at the moment we digitized them, but we haven't cataloged them and they're not searchable. So I that's one of my my big projects that I want to get into. He was also fascinate. He was part of a theater, not Citigroup, but a sort of a theater appreciation group. And. He nearly every week they were going to see a play or, you know, a music performance going to London or sort of elsewhere in the country. So I'd like to record all of that and sort of make a kind of mini story about that. Because I feel like a lot of people might not know Henry Moore nowadays, but he was he did move in sort of high circles back in the day. He was very popular artists. So yeah, I'm sure there are some amazing stories to be told. Yes. Yes, there are a lot. I think that would surprise people. So I. Yes, I think there is. There is so much material and it's lovely to have so much material. And I I'm I'm hoping that when we can get back in, I'll have more time to sort of concentrate on those and to develop those. It sounds like you do fantastic work in the archives. Henry Moore was clearly very forward thinking, putting all this into place and making sure that people have such comprehensive access to all his work. It's really interesting what you said about the photograph kind of seeing it as another person word. I think I've never really thought of that that way. But you're right. I think that that is a good way to kind of see it how an audience might see it. So, yeah, definitely sold me on the photograph collection. Have you reopened after lockdown now? What can visitors expect from the Henry Moore Foundation? Well, Henry, Marvel Studios and Gardens is now open until the end of October, and visitors can now enjoy the sculpture gardens, the artists studios and the Audubon, which is a 16th century barn which houses a set of unique tapestries based on original drawings , which Moore commissioned from Western College in Sussex. And there's also a new exhibition is Living Hand, Edmund Deveau presents Henry Moore, which explores the role of touch in the arts and sculpture. And later this summer, we hope to reopen Henry Moore's family home, Huggins. If you want to find out any more about its thing or to book tickets, you can find all that information on our website. Henry Hyde from Moore dot org. And you can also search the Henry Moore Archive Catalog, which provides a detailed summary of our publications and notable exhibition catalogs. Press coverage and film and audio recordings, as well as search the illustrated catalog of Henry Moore artworks. All being well, the archive will reopen for research purposes at the end of June, but in the meantime, if you have a research inquiry or wish to publish an image of Moore or his work, you can find my. Teams details on the archive pages of our Web site. Sounds like be a lovely day out when it reopens fully. Yes. I'm just hoping that we're going to have a very good summer. That would be the best. Well, I think we all hope that always. Yes. That's definitely something to look forward to. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us today. It's been a real pleasure hearing about the treasures that you've looked after for such a long period of time. Oh, you're very broken. It's been lovely talking to you. Cheers.