Henry Spencer Moore was born on the 30th of July 1898 in the small coalmining town of Castleford, Yorkshire. He was the seventh of the eight children of Raymond Spencer Moore, and his wife Mary Baker. His mother was an affectionate woman who inevitably played a central role in her youngest son's life. His father, a miner, was an intelligent man who read and studied widely. He was determined that all his children should be well educated, and that no son of his should work down the pit.
Henry Moore went to infant and elementary schools in his hometown, and then in 1910, like several of his brothers and sisters he won a scholarship to Castleford Secondary School, which later became a Grammar School under subsequent reforms and administrative developments. During these years Moore began carving in wood and modelling clay, and he consciously decided to become a sculptor after hearing of Michelangelo's achievements at the age of eleven.
While at secondary school Moore's art teacher Miss Alice Gostick influenced him considerably. She introduced him to a broader art world, and her enthusiasm enabled art to become a part of Moore's life out of the classroom. Positively encouraged by Miss Gostick, he was sure of his vocation as an artist. Moore passed the Cambridge Leaving Certificate in 1915, and was thus qualified for further education. He was determined to sit the examinations for a scholarship to the local art college, but his parents regarded such activity as unpromising manual labour and his father thought that he should follow an elder sibling, and incidentally, D.H.Lawrence, another miner's son, into the teaching profession. After a brief introduction as a student teacher Moore began teaching in the same school he had attended in Castleford.
The Great War came in the summer that Moore...