The small group of 'rocking chair' bronzes by Moore, dating to 1950-52 and the artist's only kinetic sculptures, have their immediate genesis in the idea of making a sculpture with movement for his young daughter, Mary, but they draw on work much further back, through the 'family group' sculptures of the immediate post-WWII period and on to the earliest mother and child subjects which he had produced around 1930. Each of the group, as well as the more static interpretations of the subjects, such as Mother and Child on Ladderback Chair (LH313) offers a slightly different rendition of the theme, but all share the sense of intimacy between the mother and child.
In Rocking Chair, No.3, the combination of the formal sculptural concerns of weight and balance are held in perfect counterpoint to the joy of the subject, the mother lifting her child on high. Whilst the child is rendered in a relatively naturalistic style, the mother figure and the chair are much more schematised in a manner reminiscent of the work of the 1930s. Whilst the mother and child theme was one that was an absolute bedrock of Moore's work, the intimacy of the two figures is very much an echo of that found in the drawings of the early to mid 1940s that see him exploring this relationship in the light of the commission for a large carved Madonna and Child (LH266) for St.Matthew's Church, Northampton. In the studies for this work, Moore clearly aims to explore not only the special relationship between a mother and child, but also what distinguishes it from the Mother and Child as presented by artists throughout history.
The rocking chair sculptures were done for my daughter Mary, as toys which actually rock. I discovered while doing them that the speed of the rocking depended on the curvature of the base and the disposition of the weights and balances of the sculpture, so each of them rocks at a different speed. (The Artist, quoted in John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Moore, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London 1968, p.178).
Bronze with brown patina
London, The Leicester Galleries, Henry Moore Exhibition: New Bronzes and Drawings, 1951, cat. no.3 (probably the present cast);
London, The Home of Wilfrid A. Evill, Contemporary Art Society, Pictures, Drawings, Water Colours and Sculpture, April - May 1961, (part I- section 3) cat. no.22 (as Woman and Child in Rocking-Chair);
Brighton, Brighton Art Gallery, The Wilfrid Evill Memorial Exhibition, June - August 1965, cat. no.115 (as Mother and Child on a Rocking Chair);
London, Royal Academy, Henry Moore, 16th September - 11th December 1988, cat. no.110 (another cast);
London, Tate Britain, Henry Moore, 24th February - 8th August 2010, cat.no.126, illustrated p.186 (another cast).
Height: 32cm.; 12½in.
Josef Paul Hodin, Moore, A. Zwemmer Ltd., London, 1958, illustrated pl.18 (another cast);
Bryan Robertson et al., Henry Moore: Sculpture 1950-1960, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 1960, illustrated facing pl.2 (another cast);
John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Moore, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London 1968, p.178;
Robert Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1921-1969, Thames and Hudson, London, 1970, p.355, no.400, illustrated (another cast);
David Mitchinson (ed.), Henry Moore Sculpture, Macmillan, London, 1981, p.331, no. 201, illustrated p.105 (another cast);
Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings: Sculpture 1949-54, vol. II, Lund Humphries, London, 1986, LH 276, illustrated p.29 and pl.16 (another cast).
The Leicester Galleries, London, where acquired by Wilfrid A. Evill (probably in 1951) for £150.0.0, by whom bequeathed to Honor Frost in 1963