Henry Moore’s Only Table
The present table was designed circa 1963 by English sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986). Made entirely of travertine, “one of his favourite stones,” and constructed in two parts, the table was intended for the living room of the Moore family home at 198 Via Mateo Civitali in Forte dei Marmi, Italy, where the family vacationed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The home was unfurnished and Moore, being “instrumental in the design of the house,” decided to create the table to be executed by Henraux Marble works located in Querceta, approximately one mile away from Forte dei Marmi. Quarried near Rome, the travertine was brought to Querceta for Moore, who began a close working relationship with Messrs Henraux in 1956, when they supplied him with the travertine used in a large sculpture commission from UNESCO, Paris. Moore had purchased the Forte dei Marmi home so that he could work on the UNESCO project and used the travertine stone for part of the interior of the house as well as the table.
Travertine is a porous, yet durable, sedimentary rock used primarily in building. Some of the most famous edifices constructed of travertine include the Colosseum in Rome, Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris, and Kazansky Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Moore’s thoughts on the stone are summarized in his description of the UNESCO Paris project: “It’s a beautiful stone. I’d always wanted to do a large piece in it…In ten or twenty years’ time, with the washing of the Paris rain, it will be fine. Half of Rome is built of travertine.”
The entire design and construction process of the present table was carried out during “one long summer holiday period.” It remained in the family’s Italian vacation home until Henry Moore’s death, and was eventually inherited by his daughter, Mary Moore Danowski. Apart from two wooden carved benches made in the early 1920s, the present table is the only piece of furniture Moore’s daughter recalls him ever creating.