Cranleigh Decorative
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Visit to the Henry Moore Foundation
at Perry Green, Hertfordshire

4th October 2011

Do you like Henry Moore's work and do you understand it? Personally, I was not sure so approached this visit with some trepidation!

After a welcome coffee and homemade cake at the Hoops Inn we were taken across the road and in small groups guided around the delightful home that Henry and his wife Irina created when they moved here in 1940. Established by Henry in his lifetime, the Foundation was set up to conserve his work and reputation. Following his wish that visitors would feel they were 'seeing the whole place as if we were still here', we gazed at the hundreds of objects with which they surrounded themselves. Left as it was in 1972, every surface displayed bits of vertebrae, artifacts, stones, coral. Cabinets full of his collection of ancient figures nudged groaning book shelves and Irina's collection of china. We gazed at French impressionist paintings, blue tins of Sellotape, a bottle of Dubonnet on the 60's sideboard and the signed Picasso in the kitchen above the wall can opener (why not?).

After lunch, our guide took us for a two-hour tour of the park and studios. Irina had transformed the surrounding farmland into a wonderful garden especially designed to display his sculptures. Seeing these from 360 degrees, some surrounded by his beloved sheep, helped us to an understanding of his many themes and talents. If you didn't come, you missed a real treat - do try and go!

Sue Harman