A fascinating look at two giants of 20th-century culture culminates in a major exhibition, as Amy Davies finds out

Henry Moore 1948 by Bill Brandt

Henry Moore, 1948 by Bill Brandt. Credit: Bill Brandt/Bill Brandt Archive Ltd

Bill Brandt / Henry Moore

The meeting between photographer Bill Brandt and the sculptor Henry Moore first took place in the Second World War, as both men created images (photographs and drawings, respectively) of civilians sheltering from the Blitz in the London Underground.

Organised by the Yale Center for British Art, in partnership with The Hepworth Wakefield, this major new exhibition comprises over 200 works, while an accompanying book is also published by Yale University Press and edited by Martina Droth and Paul Messier (£50, hardback).

Bill Brandt Coal miners bath 1937

Coal miner’s bath, Chester Le Street, Durham, 1937. Credit: Bill Brandt Archive Ltd

The aim of the show is to highlight the relationship between sculpture, photography, drawing and collage, which are revealed through Brandt’s and Moore’s shared interests in the subjects and themes of labour, society, industry, the British landscape and the human body.

From a photographic point of view, you’ll be able to see Brandt’s well-known photographs of coal miners and their families in Durham and Yorkshire, as well as rare original colour transparencies. A series of portraits of Moore taken by Brandt, are a highlight too. Little-known photo collages from Moore himself are also featured, showing a new side to an artist primarily known for his other mediums. Sculpture of course also plays a big part of the show, with Moore’s celebrated ‘Reclining Figures’ being on display.

Bill Brandt self portrait 1966

Self portrait, East Sussex coast,1966. Credit: Bill Brandt Archive Ltd

Meanwhile, the accompanying book of the same name is also well worth picking up. In it, beautiful illustrations of the artists’ work are shown alongside pages from popular period magazines such as Life and Picture Post – so it’s a real treat for nostalgia and history buffs. You’ll also find insightful essays by leading scholars, offering a unique view of two of the 20th century’s most influential artists.

The exhibition will also be shown at the end of the year at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art in Norwich, but a visit to the Wakefield comes highly recommended.


Bill Brandt / Henry Moore at The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW. Runs until 31 May 2020. £8.25 (free for members, Wakefield residents and under 16s).