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At the Coal Face

Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986)

1942

D.1947.37

Title At the Coal Face
Object type Drawing
Date 1942
Artist/maker Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986)
Support Paper
Medium Pencil
Marks and
Inscriptions
signed & dated : : lower left margin : : Moore/42-
Dimensions h:334 w:551 mm
Accession Lot War Artists' Advisory Committee (gift, 1947)
Accession number D.1947.37

Collection Exhibitions : Art from our Perspectives : Object Label : D.1947.37

"I had six months of my life down there. Working with no shirt on ... its just like what it is. I've still got this at home, you know - the iron shaft - all made of iron it is. It's not very heavy, like a normal handle. One end's a pick and one's a cutter. No good being trapped with one of them wooden handles because it wouldn't last you a minute. It would smash to pieces."
Fred Broomhead, Platt Day Unit

Collection Exhibitions : Art from our Perspectives : Object Label : D.1947.37

"I had six months of my life down there. Working with no shirt on ... its just like what it is. I've still got this at home, you know - the iron shaft - all made of iron it is. It's not very heavy, like a normal handle. One end's a pick and one's a cutter. No good being trapped with one of them wooden handles because it wouldn't last you a minute. It would smash to pieces."
Fred Broomhead, Platt Day Unit

Collection Exhibitions : Artists in Wartime : Object Label : D.1947.37

After a successful commission to paint the shelters in the London Underground, Henry Moore returned to his home town of Castleford in December 1941 to paint miners - "Britain's Underground Army" as wartime propoganda described them.

He wrote on his first day: "Crawling on sore hands and knees and reaching the actual coal face was the biggest experience. If one were asked to describe what Hell might be like, this would do."

Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986)

In 1946, Ascher commissioned Moore, in addition to other well-known painters and sculptors, for scarf designs, or 'artist squares'. In the 1950s, he collaborated with the printed-textile firm, David Whitehead.