Biographical Introduction

He was one of the first painters to try and observe accurately the movement and moods of the sea. — Peter Nahum, A Century of Master Drawings....

Henry Moore, the elder brother of Albert Joseph Moore, studied under his father William Moore at the York School of Design before briefly attending the Royal Academy schools. According to David Cordingly, the dozen or so paintings he exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1853 and 1858 took the form of landscapes, and "it was a visit to Clovelly in 1857 which really seems to have set him on the path which he was to follow for the rest of his life. On 16 May 1857 he wrote in his diary 'There is one thing respecting the sea I never saw truly given in a painting — viz, its size and extent as seen from high cliffs — it is truly wonderful'" (174). From 1875 onward, he took advantage of voyages of several weeks or more on large yachts owned by friends to paint the sea off Dover, Cornwall, Ireland, and Scotland.

In summing up the artist's style and relations to other artists of the time, Cordingly points out that

It is usual to link Henry Moore with John Brett. They were born within a few months of each other and both spent most of their working lives painting pictures of the open sea. But despite their similarity of subject matter the style of their work was very different. It is true that Moore was, like Brett, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and many of his early works share their detailed exactitude, but his mature work is much closer in character to the marine paintings of McTaggart or Whistler. Indeed his best work has more in common with the marine paintings of Monet and Boudin than with the other marine artists working in England at the time. This is confirmed by the enthusiasm with which his seascapes were received in France. When his work was first shown in Paris, French critics coined the phrase "la note bleue de Moore," and at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889 he received the Grand Prix and was later decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honour.... He was a fine colourist and was equally adept at suggesting the vibrant blues and greens of summer and at portraying the steely grey tones of winter. [174-75]

Shirley Nicholson adds that although Henry Moore died in Margate, both the 1871 and 1881 censuses show him still living in London, in Sheffield Terrace, Kensington, in the artists' enclave at Campden Hill. This is also the address given on his correspondence in the Royal Academy Archive. — added by JB



Catalogue. London: The Maas Gallery, 2008.

A Century of Master Drawings, Watercolours, & Works in Egg Tempera. London: Peter Nahum, nd.

Cordingly, David. Marine Painting in England, 1700-1900. London: Studio Vista, 1974.

Gaunt, William. Marine Paintingt: An Historical Survey. New York: Viking Press, 1976.

Created 11 June 2007

Last modified 5 October 2022