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Henry Moore

Pitboys at Pit Head

1898 – 1986

Pitboys at Pit Head
Pencil, wax crayon, pen and ink and wash on paper
33.5 x 54.6 cm
Presented by HM Government and the War Artists Advisory Committee, 1947


In the early 1940s Moore was commissioned by Sir Kenneth Clark, chairman of the War Artists Advisory Committee, to illustrate the work of the ‘Bevin Boys’, the young men who were conscripted to dig coal to fuel the factories producing armaments for the war effort.

Moore returned to Wheldale Colliery in Castleford where his father had been pit manger. As with his ‘shelter drawings’, he used a technique of layering white wax crayon with watercolour, before building up the detail and texture with intricate marks of pen and ink. He considered this drawing to be the most successful work to come out of the commission.