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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 December 2005, 19:29 GMT
Profile: Henry Moore
Henry Moore in 1967
Henry Moore 's work was valued at more than 130m in the 1990s
Henry Moore, whose 3m sculpture of a reclining figure was stolen by thieves on Thursday evening, is regarded as Britain's most famous sculptor.

Only a few years after his death in 1986, his collection of 666 sculptures, 3,000 drawings and 8,000 prints was valued at 130m.

Henry Moore was born the seventh of eight children in Castleford, a Yorkshire mining town, in 1898.

He said that the inspiration for his work, characterised by its fluid, flowing lines, partly came from rubbing his mother's hips when she was suffering from sciatica when he was a child.

His sculpting began in school, when he worked with clay and wood. He served in World War I and then became the first-ever sculpture student at Leeds School of Art in 1919, before moving to London.

War artist

He became interested in Mexican, Egyptian and African sculpture which he saw at the British Museum. He became Instructor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Art.

In the 1930s he was a member of Unit One, a group of British artists which also included Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, and art critic Herbert Read.

Recognition for his art led to him becoming the official war artists in 1941, soon after his Hampstead home had been damaged by a German bomb.

Mother And Child by Henry Moore (1931)
Moore's piece Mother and Child sold for 1m last month

He and his wife Irene moved to Perry Green in Hertfordshire, where he lived for the rest of his life.

In 1943 he was commissioned with his first major public work, a Madonna and Child sculpture for the Church of St Matthew in Northampton.

The sculpture was the first in a long series of family-based subjects.

Honours Moore won during his life included international sculpture prizes at the 24th Venice Biennale in 1948 and at the 2nd Sao Paulo Biennale in 1953.

He was also given the award of Companion of Honour in 1955, the Order of Merit in 1963, and the Erasmus Prize in 1968.

In 1978 a major retrospective of his work was held at the Serpentine Gallery in London.

He designed the original Bafta awards, a figure of a seated woman, which are now highly prized.

Moore, who had a daughter with Irene, died in 1986, aged 88.

It is not the first time Moore's work has prompted criminal acts.

Thieves stole a 10-inch-tall sculpture, worth 52,000, from the Waddington Gallery in London.

It was later found during a spot security check on a taxi.

The King and Queen sculpture, at the Glenkiln reservoir near Dumfries, was beheaded in 1995.

3m Henry Moore sculpture stolen
17 Dec 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Moore figure sells for over 1m
29 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Plaque for sculptor Henry Moore
19 May 04 |  London

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