A day with Henry Moore

Blog by Richard Bland, Cam Sight volunteer.

About ten minutes south west of Bishops Stortford in the sleepy village of Perry Green lies the Henry Moore Studio and Gardens. Both home and workshop to the great artist until his death in 1986, the centre is now a modern visitor attraction with easy access and all of the facilities you might expect in a contemporary venue.

During the latter half of Moores life he amassed a small fortune, yet continued to live a relatively frugal existence using much of his wealth to establish his Foundation with the Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire and the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.

Last week, Dot, Malcolm and I paid them a visit, enjoying a delightful day soaking up a bit of culture in the sun, and a few cream cakes along the way. The centre features dozens of Moore’s enormous sculptures sitting amongst mature gardens and laid out in a way that allows visitors to wander through an enchanting landscape at their leisure.

After following the usual process of identify the name of each sculpture before standing back and attempting to understand what each work was trying to convey, a guide wisely advised us to ignore the name plates and simply enjoy the work for what it is. Pretty sensible advice given that every other piece seemed to be named ‘Recumbent Figure’.

Along the way you’ll find numerous studios and barns where you can discover more about the artist, his creative processes and his work. The guides there were all extremely helpful and very informative. We spent a couple of hours following a small circuit, but for those with more time or energy, some of the largest works are sited further out across the extensive sheep fields. Unfortunately, the artists home, Hoglands, can’t accept guide dogs at present, but they did say that this was something they were looking to remedy in the near future.

For those who haven’t been, and even those that may not be particularly keen on Moore’s work, this is a great day out for anyone with limited sight. The scale and drama of Moore’s art make it more accessible, and within the gardens visitors can touch and feel all of the sculptures. Something Moore himself was very keen on.

Being mostly outside, this venue is best enjoyed on a dry day. The Gardens and Studios are open from the end of March until the end of October, seven days a week. For more information take a look at their website https://www.henry-moore.org/

Left photo: Malcolm, guide dog Bennett and Dot sitting on a plinth in front of a sculpture in the garden
Right photo: Dot, Malcolm and guide dog Bennett in front of a sculpture in the studio