Inspiration – Henry Moore’s Sheep Drawings

I was reminded recently of Henry Moore’s beautiful sheep drawings while taking photographs of a ewe with her lamb. Moore is perhaps best known for his large sculptures. There is a very fine example of one of these in Trinity college Dublin, photographed below. This piece is called ‘Reclining Connected Form’


Sculpture: Reclining Connected Form, by Henry Moore

Photograph by Andre Winlondon at



I read recently that when asked by his niece why the titles for his work are so simple, Moore replied “All art should have a certain mystery and should make demands on the spectator. Giving a drawing too explicit a title takes away part of that mystery so that the spectator moves on to the next object, making no effort to ponder the meaning of what he has just seen. Everyone thinks that he or she looks but they don’t really you know” *

I take the first part of this as something to really strive for myself in my own work. I also appreciate it as an observer of art and nature myself – the skill of looking is so often undervalued.. but I digress!

These are the sheep drawings I have been thinking about. Moore made a wonderful collection of them and several of the ewe with her lamb – mother and child – a subject which he drew from throughout his career.


Sketch of sheep and lamb, by Henry Moore



Sketch of a sheep from in front, by Henry Moore



Sketch of a sheep from behind, by Henry Moore

Photographs reproduced from the Henry Moore Foundation website



Moore has such sympathy with his subject. I love the expressions and gestures in these wonderful wiry drawings. These and many more are available as a collection in a book published by Thames and Hudson ( below ) which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in drawing.


Cover image of "Henry Moore's Sheep Sketchbook"

Day, Elizabeth. “The Moore legacy”. The Observer, 27 July 2008.