Study of Irina Moore
As a newly married young artist, Moore often asked his wife Irina to model for his drawings. This study was made in his home-studio in the year they had married. Moore’s niece, Ann Garrould, remembered Irina as having ‘the ability to sit motionless for what, at least to me as a child, seemed unconscionably long periods. She radiated a sense of tranquillity, of serenity.’ 
The dark outlines of the figure suggest the solidity of one of Moore’s sculptures, and the brown tones in the torso imply stone. The treatment of the facial features echoes some of his sculpture of the period, in particular his masks of 1927–9. Irina’s left eye has no iris, so it could be closed, but it looks more like the blank void of a mask.
Alan Wilkinson, who has done the most sustained analysis of Moore’s drawings, identifies a number of common characteristics across his life studies. ‘Among the most obvious features . . . are their sculptural quality, the primacy of modelling and the use of as many as four media in a single drawing.’ 
Another key aspect that Wilkinson identifies in Moore’s drawings as a professional artist (rather than as a student) is that his figures are in relaxed naturalistic standing or seated positions.  This is opposed to the classical poses that Moore had to copy faithfully at art school, or even the reclining figures of much of his sculpture. Each of these fundamental features can be seen in the present drawing. The intensely worked areas in ink and chalk offer shadow and contour, contrasting with the highlights from the white of the page. Moore first created the outline and contours in chalk, then added shading with further chalk and wash. Finally he defined detail and accents in ink.
Tania Moore, September 2020
 Ann Garrould, ‘Henry Moore and the Sainsbury Family’ in Colin Grant (ed.), Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery (London: Scala Publishers Ltd, 2004), p.16.
 Alan Wilkinson, The Drawings of Henry Moore (London and Toronto: Tate and the Art Gallery of Ontario, 1977), p.13.
'Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery', Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 12/5/2004 - 12/9/2004
Steven Hooper (ed.), Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, volume 1 (Norwich: University of East Anglia, 1997)
Tania Moore, Henry Moore: Friendships and Legacies (Norwich: Sainsbury Centre, 2020)
Purchased by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury in 1939 from Zwemmer's Gallery.
Donated to the University of East Anglia in 1973 (Sainsbury Centre).
Not on display
Title/Description: Study of Irina Moore
Artist/Maker: Henry Moore
Object Type: Drawing
Materials: Chalk, Ink, Paper, Wash
Measurements: Unframed: (h. 400 x w. 300 x d. 1 mm) Framed: (h. 640 x w. 520 x d. 25 mm)
Accession Number: 87
Historic Period: 20th century
Production Place: Britain, England, Europe
Copyright: © Reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation
Credit Line: Donated by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1973