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Henry Moore Institute Sculpture Research Library

Library of the Week: 6th June: Our featured library is the incredible Henry Moore Institute Sculpture Research Library! Find out more about the library and the vast amount of amazing collections they hold in this new blog post by Librarians, Karen Atkinson and Ann Sproat – thank you so much for taking part!

The Henry Moore Institute is a world-recognised centre for the study and enjoyment of sculpture, based in the centre of Leeds. We are part of the Henry Moore Foundation, a charity which was set up by the artist and his family in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts. In 1982, Moore, who was born in Castleford in 1898 and studied in Leeds, generously gave Leeds a centre for the study of sculpture, a resource that he would have wanted for himself as a student and budding sculptor.

Today, the Henry Moore Institute is the place to discover and enjoy sculpture with a vibrant exhibition and events programme and world-class research facilities.

Installation view of ‘Julia Crabtree and William Evans: Slip’
Exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute, 17 September 2021 – 16 January 2022
Photo: John McKenzie
Image Courtesy of the Henry Moore Institute

The Sculpture Research Library can be found on the first floor of the striking building on the Headrow, designed by Dixon and Jones.

Image Courtesy of the Henry Moore Institute

The library holds over 30,000 printed books and digital resources on sculpture. Our collection is international in scope and includes sculpture from the earliest periods to the present day. It is particularly strong on British sculpture post-1850 and modern and contemporary international sculpture.

Image Courtesy of the Henry Moore Institute

We encourage an expanded and diverse narrative of the histories of sculpture across the globe and explore connections with other disciplines. The range of material we hold reflects a variety of developments and debates and can be quite a surprise for visitors. You can find material on stone carving and bronze casting, installation art, conceptual works, sculpture’s relationship with architecture, film, performance, poetry, craft and politics and much, much more.

Our collection contains exhibition catalogues, critical studies on sculptors’ work, texts on sculptural theory and catalogues of sculpture collections. We subscribe to twenty journals, including the Sculpture Journal, Frieze, Art Newspaper and Flash Art. Our special collections include key historical journals such as Ark, The Island and Signals.

We have a growing collection of artists’ books which explore sculptural themes. These include handmade limited editions, such as Yoko Terauchi’s Ebb & Flow (Coracle Press, 1988) a beautiful artist’s book made with a pigment-coated torn sheet of paper, folded between screen-printed plywood end-panels.

We also collect ephemera on British sculptors and artists who have exhibited at the Institute. Our artists’ files hold everything from exhibition invitations, press cuttings, auction records, to magazine articles. Our files provide an invaluable record of exhibition histories and the critical reception of artists and may be the only information available on an artist’s career.

In the audio-visual library you can listen to recordings of past lectures, explore conference papers, or watch footage from past exhibitions.

We also highlight items from our collection with in-focus displays. The current display The Show Must Go On: Exhibiting Sculpture by Women in Twentieth-Century Britain (until 25 September 2022), looks at the histories of exhibiting sculpture by women in Britain, focusing on galleries, societies and exhibitions that supported the display of women’s sculptural practices, which links to our current Researching Women in Sculpture season.

Image Courtesy of the Henry Moore Institute

The Henry Moore Sculpture Research Library is open to all, seven days a week. You can check what we hold on an artist or subject by searching our library catalogue. Tours of the library are available for groups on request and staff are always on hand to assist you in your research.

The library is part of a dynamic and outward-looking Institution which welcomes everyone interested in thinking about sculpture’s past, present or future. The beautiful reading rooms offer a comfortable space for study, inspiration and contemplation. A large proportion of our collections are available to browse and you can connect to our eJournals and online resources via Wi-fi. But you have to look at them here, our resources are reference only.

The library also houses the Henry Moore Institute Archive of Sculptors’ Papers which contains a wealth of material relating to British sculptural practice. Holdings include sketches, notebooks, photos, correspondence, press cuttings and more. It’s free to use, but booking in advance is essential.

Please visit our website for more information or email us at You can follow the Henry Moore Institute on Twitter @HMILeeds and @henrymooreinstitute on Instagram and Facebook.

You can visit Henry Moore’s archive, which comprises of over three quarters of a million publications, documents, images and recordings about Moore’s life and work at Henry Moore Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire.

Karen Atkinson and Ann Sproat – (Librarians, Henry Moore Institute).

You can explore the library’s collections on Discover and find further contact details on their Discover information page.


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