In 1952, the world famous artist Henry Moore was invited to provide a design as part of a Christmas fundraising project for a new charity. The artist’s contribution, Madonna and Child, was used on mail labels during the festive period to raise awareness for the National Fund for Research into Poliomyelitis & Other Crippling Diseases charity, now known as Action Medical Research.
Moore gave the original to the charity’s founder, Duncan Guthrie. It was then passed by family descent to the present owner and, until very recently, remained completely unknown. Now, newly recorded by the Henry Moore Foundation, Madonna and Child, estimated at £30,000 to 50,000, will feature in Bonhams’ Modern British and Irish Art sale, which will take place on 18th November at Bonhams New Bond Street.
“It has been fascinating to come across this previously unrecorded work,” said Matthew Bradbury, Bonhams Director of Modern British and Irish Art. “This drawing exemplifies Moore’s interest in abstractions of the human figure and its story provides a touching insight into the mind of its artist. It feels fitting to offer it for sale as we approach Christmas.”
The drawing appears to be a preparatory work for Moore’s Claydon Madonna and Child (1948-49), which was commissioned by Sir Jasper Ridley as a memorial to his son, who was killed during the Second World War. It followed what was arguably the artist’s most significant work of the war period, Madonna and Child (1943-44) at St. Matthew’s in Northampton.
Other works by Henry Moore in the sale include Reclining Figure No. 1, estimated at £50,000 to 70,000, and the maquette for Draped Reclining Figure, which has an estimate of £50,000 to 80,000.