Discovery of a Work by the Great British Sculptor Henry Moore

If like us, you are followers of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and Fake or Fortune, then you’ll enjoy this…
A discovery of a work by the great British sculptor Henry Moore, titled Mother and Child stood unidentified on a mantlepiece for years and has recently been authenticated by auctioneer Dreweatts’ specialist Francesca Witham and The Henry Moore Foundation. It was believed to have been a gift from Moore to his great friend Hubert de Cronin Hastings, former Editor of Architectural Review, before Moore became famous. It passed down through Hubert’s family, who had no idea it was a work by the celebrated sculptor.


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Mother and Child by Henry Moore (British 1898-1986). Estimate £30,000-£50,000

 After two years of working with the Henry Moore Foundation and the family of the owner,  Hubert de Cronin Hastings (1902-1986) the sculpture, titled Mother and Child has now been authenticated and brought to the market for the very first time. The Foundation was able to link the work to a sketch of the sculpture by Moore already held in its records, titled Eighteen Ideas for Sculpture, which he produced in 1939.


Photo: Osborne Samuel The sketch titled Eighteen Ideas for Sculpture is linked to this work, held in the archives at the Henry Moore Foundation

The sketch titled Eighteen Ideas for Sculpture is linked to this work, held in the archives at the Henry Moore Foundation


The sculpture is believed to have been gifted to Hubert de Cronin Hastings directly by Henry Moore, as they met through The Architectural Review magazine, via Moore’s friend Jim Richards, Assistant Editor of the magazine at the time, who had befriended Moore after writing an article on his work for the magazine in 1934. The sculpture was passed down by Hubert to his son, John Hastings in the 1970s, remaining on his mantlepiece amongst an eclectic mixture of objects until he passed away in 2019.

The work is also considered an extremely rare piece as it is cast in lead, which was a material the sculptor only used for a short period in the 1930s, during a time in his career when he was experimenting with other materials such as string and wire for his series of stringed sculptures. Mother and Child is believed to be a preliminary design for one of these stringed sculptures, which explains the unusual markings on the front of the sculpture, which add to its’ joyful and playful nature.

Mother and Child is a stunning figural group in trademark Moore semi abstract style. Formed in lead, the work has been dated to 1939-1940 and will be offered in Dreweatts Modern & Contemporary Art sale on Wednesday March 16, 2022 with an estimate of £30,000 – £50,000 and probably much Moore!

Here’s a link to the fascinating BBC show Fake or Fortune – this episode ‘Sculpture in the Brambles‘ is about Henry Moore.

Is there anything on your mantlepiece that’s more fortune than fake?