Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst commissioned Memorial Figure in 1945 as a tribute to Christopher Martin, Dartington’s first Arts Administrator, who had died the previous year. Situated at the top of the Tiltyard, the sculpture is Grade II listed.
Carved from Hornton stone, Moore finished the work in 1946 and chose its site with great care, so that the curves of the sculpture could echo the rolling hills in the distance.
It has been recognised as “perhaps the most serene and elegiac piece of Moore’s entire career, perfectly balanced and harmonious…” (Roger Berthoud).
Moore himself wrote, “I wanted it to convey a sense of permanent tranquillity, a sense of being from which the stir and fret of human ways had been withdrawn.
“All the time I was working on it I was very much aware that I was making a memorial to go into an English scene that is itself a memorial to many generations of men who have engaged in a subtle collaboration with the land.”
More Gardens history
The TiltyardThe history of our most distinctive Gardens feature
Henry Moore's Memorial FigureThe renowned sculptor's tribute to a key Dartington figure
The Sunny BorderHow one of Dorothy Elmhirst's favourite features has evolved
The Bridge by Peter Randall-PageA functional artwork that helps keep our Gardens accessible to all
Beatrix Farrand’s courtyard pavingThe history of a space inspired by the college quadrangles of Oxford University
FloraA statue gifted to founders Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst by the people of Dartington
The Yew TreeThe oldest living resident of our Gardens, believed to be 1500-2000 years old
St Mary’s Church TowerThis 13th century tower is home to our 'Silent Space', a place of quiet contemplation