Stevenage school showcases Henry Moore’s Family Group masterpiece

PUBLISHED: 14:02 13 September 2015 | UPDATED: 08:59 14 September 2015

Barclay School headteacher Jacqui O'Connor and year 8 students with the Henry Moore Sculpture in its new position in the school lobby

Barclay School headteacher Jacqui O'Connor and year 8 students with the Henry Moore Sculpture in its new position in the school lobby

Archant

Not many schools can say that they’ve got a £20 million sculpture sitting in their lobby.

The Henry Moore Sculpture in its new position in Barclay SchoolThe Henry Moore Sculpture in its new position in Barclay School

But The Barclay School in Stevenage can – and they celebrated this by moving Henry Moore’s masterpiece, the Family Group, to a place where everyone can appreciate it.

Headteacher Jacqui O’Connor, who took over the role this summer, said: “I am delighted to find such a unique piece of artwork at the heart of the school.

“I am a firm believer in ‘the family’ both at home and at school, providing positive role models and influences to our young people’s lives.”

Sculptor Henry Moore was inspired to design the piece after focusing on the family following his mother’s death, and after he became a father himself. He made the piece for the school in 1950, when Stevenage new town was in its infancy.

Year 8 Barclay students sketch the sculpture for an art classYear 8 Barclay students sketch the sculpture for an art class

He had originally been asked to make an artwork for a school in Cambridge before the Second World War, but this was shelved due to a lack of funding. After the war Barclay showed an interest in Mr Moore’s drawings and he was commissioned to make the piece – his first large bronze sculpture.

A further four sculptures were cast from the mould, and they can be found in famous art galleries across the globe.

The life-sized Family Group sat outside the school for more than 60 years before thieves unsuccessfully tried to steal the 500kg sculpture and sell it for scrap metal in May 2010.

School officials didn’t know the attempted heist had even happened until they stumbled across CCTV of the botched burglary months later and decided it was best to move the prized artwork inside.

It was later placed at the back of the lobby but pressure for a more prominent position resulted in this week’s new home.

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