Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Henry Moore’s Wartime Drawings (1939–1942) and the Influence of Gustave Doré’s Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy

These are the damned circles Dante trod,Terrible in hopelessness,But even skulls have their humour,An eyeless and sardonic mockery

—Opening lines of “Grotesque,” by Frederic Manning, 19171

Despite the apparent serenity of Henry Moore’s undulating, weatherworn sculptures, there is a deep ambiguity that makes it difficult to pinpoint their precise nature. Moore’s curvaceous yet cavernous figures, with their hollowed-out innards and broken limbs, often speak to an uneasy balance between sheltered protection and exposed vulnerability. The interpretation of his work is complicated by the fact that the artist drew inspiration from such a wide range of sources, from contemporary Surrealism, Cubism, and Abstraction through to Renaissance, medieval, and so-called primitive art.2 In this essay I will argue that Moore was also inspired by Gustave Doré’s illustrations for Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. I see this influence reflected in a number of drawings created by Moore between 1939 and 1942, which coincided with the first four years of the Second World War. [End Page 154]

During the First World War disturbing scenes from the Divine Comedy were plundered by artists and writers attempting to give form to their horrific wartime experiences. At the start of the Second World War Moore was 41 years old, just young enough to be conscripted. When hostilities with Germany were announced in 1939, I suggest, Moore turned to Dante’s potent imagery to reflect his own traumatic experience of combat during World War I, as well as the nation's collective anxiety as the United Kingdom found itself embroiled in another world war.

Moore’s wartime drawings feature the London Underground and coalmines from the north of England, the latter involving a formal commission in his capacity as a War Artist. As one would expect, there are no medical records in the public domain providing evidence of the artist’s psychological distress during their composition. Further, although Moore claimed a number of influences for these particular pictures, he never publicly connected them with Doré or the Divine Comedy. Instead, my arguments are based mainly on the nature of Moore’s art, on the observations of previous commentators of his work, and on the historic, cultural appropriation of Dante’s imagery.


Henry Moore joined the Civil Service Rifles in 1917 at the age of 18 and went on to fight in the battle of Cambrai in northern France as a member of the 1st Battalion. The horror of this protracted, military encounter was heightened by the use of tanks and by the heavy bombardment of British troops with gas.3 Moore was gassed in November 1917 and invalided out of the army. He was one of only 52 men to have survived from a battalion of 400.

Moore himself did not talk much about his time on the frontline,4 but when he did, his reports were very matter-of-fact. Examples include an interview in 1961 in which Moore summarized his time in the army:

for me the First World War passed in a kind of romantic haze of hoping to be a hero. . . . [A]ll one felt was sadness at having taken so much trouble to no purpose; but on the whole I enjoyed the Army. . . . After I was gassed at Cambrai I was in hospital for three months and it still affects my voice at times, but as they made me a PT instructor afterwards I suppose I must have got pretty fit again.5 [End Page 155]

Reticence to speak out about the harsh realities of the battlefield was common in England around the First World War.6 Survivors of trench warfare were left with deeply disturbing memories, as recalled by the American literary historian and veteran Paul Fussell:

The stench of rotten flesh was over everything . . . . Dead horses and dead men—and parts of both—were sometimes not buried for months and often simply became an element of parapets and trench walls. . . . What a survivor of the Salient remembers fifty years later are the walls of dirt and the ceiling of sky, and his eloquent optative cry rises as if he were still imprisoned there.7

The psychological effects of military conflict began to emerge soon after the First World War started. It was initially thought that “shell shock”—an incapacitating condition involving symptoms such as “hysteria” and neurological problems—was caused by the physical shock of a shell exploding.8 It became understood, however, that men with no gross physical injury could become “nerve-stricken” and unable to return to active duty because of “disastrous and memory-haunting” events.9 In both the First and Second World War the capacity for gas to traumatize soldiers was particularly high due to anxieties around the internal damage they could produce, and to the fear of suffocation.10 As a result, soldiers could suffer significant long-term psychological symptoms—including persistent fears, anxiety, and depression—irrespective of the amount of gas inhaled or the physical outcome of their service.11 More recently the effects of some traumatic war experiences have been understood in terms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.12

In his introduction to the work of Henry Moore, Chris Stephens notes that the artist’s own increasingly conservative position in later life conspired with the romantic association between his sculpture and the landscape “to distance it from the trauma and radical politics that helped determine it.”13 Stephens refers specifically to the “traumatised mourning” at the heart of the European experience of war, as well as Moore’s “iconography of broken, abject bodies” that recalled his personal experience of combat.14 Jeremy Lewison and Roger Berthoud also note that Moore’s reclining figures from the 1930s onwards could be read as uncanny reminders of the pierced bodies of his fallen comrades.15 Moore himself described his depiction of drapery as being “almost like a bandage” pulled tight across his figures16—perhaps recalling the dressings of injured soldiers. Indeed, it is difficult to look at much of [End Page 156] Moore’s work without being reminded of the terrifying ordeal that befell him on the battlefields of Cambrai. Small Helmet Head (1950; private collection, LH 283), for example, has the unmistakable overtones of a military gas mask, and the starring eyes of his Helmet Head No. 2 (1950; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, LH 281 cast g) recall Wilfred Owen’s horrifying wartime poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est” (c.1917–18), in which a wide-eyed soldier is suffocating in a haze of chlorine gas. Tobias Capwell and Hannah Higham propose that Moore's Helmet Head series represented universal anxieties around the mechanized horror of global warfare as well as the artist’s personal exposure in 1917 to the Western Front.17 Other commentators have also noted a link between Moore’s exploration of military helmets and the objects of war.18

Moore was not the only veteran searching for ways to articulate his wartime experience. A small number of regular soldiers were moved to describe their own devastating experience of fighting in northern France in terms of Dante’s imagery from the Divine Comedy. The brutality and suffering witnessed by the pilgrim and his guide during their epic journey through Inferno and Purgatorio appear to have struck a chord with those exposed to the shocking, mechanized violence of the First World War. Fussell compared the infamous battles of Mametz Wood and High Wood in 1916 to Dante’s vision of the sinister forest in the opening of Inferno,19 and Merritt Cutler reported that a battle near Bellicourt in 1918 resembled a hellish scene from the same canticle.20

We know that Moore was aware of Dante’s Divine Comedy as his library contained Kenneth Clark’s The Drawings by Sandro Botticelli for Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy, as well as L’Enfer de Dante Alighieri, which was illustrated by Doré.21 Henry’s daughter Mary Moore has said that her father particularly admired Doré’s work because of the way he used light and shade to suggest solid form.22 We also know that Moore’s interest in Dante persisted over the years. In 1969 he would write a foreword for a book by Michael Ayrton, Giovanni Pisano, Sculptor, in which Pisano’s sculpture was compared to the divine reliefs in Purgatorio 10,23 and in 1980 Moore would publish a series of five etchings based on Dante’s “Rime Petrose” under the title Dante ‘Stones’ (object number: POR 52).

Still, while Moore seemed comfortable talking openly about the inspiration behind certain of his works of art, he was publicly silent about any influence drawn from Doré’s Dante illustrations. It is conceivable, [End Page 157] of course, that Doré’s commercial popularity, which dissuaded earlier artists from linking their work to his, cast its shadow as far forward as the mid-1940s. (Doré’s Dante illustrations were widely known and extremely popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their popularity has plummeted since then, obscuring their earlier prominence.24) According to Aida Audeh, “Doré’s mass appeal and participation in the low culture of illustration (whether in newspapers or in expensive folio editions of great literature) were not of the kind that would garner him respect among the avant-garde,” nor were they desirable for those wishing to uphold traditional standards in the arts.25 While his illustrations were innovative—including their extremes of scale between some figures and the theatrical effects of light and shade noted by Moore26—Doré’s immense popularity as an illustrator adversely affected his reputation as a fine artist.27

Whether or not Doré’s “mass appeal” played a part in Moore’s thinking is impossible to say, but the artist’s public silence on the subject of Doré is somewhat puzzling. Perhaps it is as simple as Moore wishing people to think that his Underground and mining drawings were inspired by a diverse range of artists, rather than admitting that Dante and Doré together played such a crucial role in their conception. Indeed, Moore’s public persona was that of an artist who took the shapes, forms, and colors of diverse sources, including natural materials, and melded them into something completely unique. He may have worried— unduly—that critics and the public would think his drawings merely reimagined versions of the illustrations once the connection was drawn. Another possible reason for Moore’s silence is that the subject matter of Hell may have too easily exposed the personal meaning behind his drawings, namely his awful memories of the war. After all, so many men just couldn’t talk about these things—there weren’t words for the things they had experienced.

In contrast to Moore’s reticence, however, many other professional writers and artists completed poems, novels, and paintings referring directly to Dante to convey the experience of conflict.28 Wyndham Lewis served in the British Army in World War I and was traumatized by his experience in the battle of Passchendaele.29 Lewis borrowed from Inferno and Purgatorio in several of his works, including his novel The Human Age (1928), and his paintings A Battery Shelled (1919; Imperial War Museum, London) and Inferno (1937; National Gallery of Victoria, [End Page 158] Melbourne).30 Lewis’s war painting A Battery Shelled was inspired in part by Luca Signorelli’s fresco Dante and Virgil Entering Purgatory (1499–1502; San Brizio Chapel, Orvieto Cathedral), which depicts a scene from Purgatorio 10.31 Lewis was a close friend of Moore’s and when the artist was asked about his interest in armor he quoted Lewis’s comment about the lobster’s outer shell protecting the “soft flesh inside.”32 Ezra Pound, a friend of Lewis’s, created his “Hell Cantos” (1925) as a contemporary portrait of post-war England as a ruinous and corrupt civilization.33 In Frederic Manning’s poem “Grotesque” (1917), the opening lines of which appear at the beginning of this essay, the writer compares the battlefield with Dante’s circles of Hell. Inferno also reminded T. S. Eliot of his own experiences of war; in “Little Gidding” (1924), for example, he combined his personal recollections of planes falling over London in WWI and of his time in the fire-spotting service during WWII with Dante’s haunting description of fire falling from the sky34:

  Over the sand there rained, with a slow falling,broad flakes of fire, like snow in the mountainswithout wind.  Like the flames that Alexander saw, in those hotparts of India, falling down on his host, whole all theway to the ground,  so that he provided for the earth to be trampledby his squadrons, since the burning was betterextinguished while separated:  so the eternal burning was coming down, and thesand caught fire, like tinder beneath the flint, todouble the suffering.35

Daniel Hipp explains how Purgatorio was sometimes used to introduce an element of redemption or salvation to a piece of work, reflecting the transformative aspect of the pilgrim’s spiritual journey towards Paradise. In The Waste Land (1922) Eliot linked the “hell” that followed the First World War to Inferno,36 but Hipp notes that in the poem’s closing lines he drew instead from Purgatorio, perhaps to suggest that healing can result from the flames of suffering.37 In a similar vein Owen referred to both Inferno and Purgatorio in “Mental Cases” (1918), evoking disturbing memories of body parts whilst at the same time seeking to establish a curative outcome for the traumatized witnesses through a reintegration of their fragmented psyches.38 [End Page 159]

James Fox writes that, for soldiers, the creation of visual art could also prove cathartic.39 The artistic responses to World War I were, of course, as diverse as the individuals that created them. Whilst some artists created idyllic pastoral landscapes, others—such as Otto Dix, Graham Sutherland, and John Nash—portrayed the stark damage wrought by conflict.40 Nash described how his own painting served as a “thank-you” for his survival, and as a means of exorcising his horrific memories of the battlefield.41 Artists, like their literary counterparts, also drew on Dante’s poetry for inspiration. Paul Nash, John’s brother, described the devastated landscape of the Western Front in a letter to his wife: “I have seen the most frightful nightmare of a country more conceived by Dante or Poe than by nature, unspeakable, utterly indescribable.”42 Jean Cocteau made the link between war and Dante explicit in his cover design for the magazine Le Mot in June 1915; to mark Italy’s declaration of war on Austria-Hungary, Cocteau drew Dante wearing a Phrygian cap and laurel crown, with the caption “Dante Avec Nous.”43

According to Richard Cork, “the need to exorcise the evil spirit of war should never be underestimated among artists who had fought in the Front,” even for someone as fortunate as Moore, who only served for a short time.44 The precise ways in which writers and artists tried to come to terms with their haunting wartime memories have been studied at length by Hipp, Laura Wittman, and others.45 Hipp describes how writers such as Owen, Ivor Gurney, and Siegfried Sassoon reenvisioned their relationship to the experiences that continued to haunt them, using their creativity to consciously manipulate traumatic events:

The patient succeeds in healing himself . . . through his own creative capacity which takes the horrors of nightmares, over which he could exert no control while he slept, and brings the image into the arena of his waking life. The therapeutic quality of the act of painting [or writing] comes not simply in representing the nightmare, but in the patient’s “framing” of the horrible experience into a structure that he can confront during waking, conscious hours, rather than during sleep when consciousness yields to the workings of the unconscious.46

An example of this creative reframing can be seen in Owen’s gradual release from the survivor’s guilt keeping him in shell shock; the ghastly face that once haunted him—a conglomeration of dying faces whom Owen commanded—began to fade as he gave a public, poetic voice to the deceased soldiers who could no longer speak for themselves.47 [End Page 160]

Wittman focuses on the trauma of war in relation to the symbolism, interpretation, and reception of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Similar to Hipp’s claims about individual patients, she argues that the return of Unknown Soldiers contributes to societal catharsis by placing wartime trauma within a controlled situation; although the “trauma is repeated, its monstrosity is magnified or made spectacular, so that we can finally touch it, embody it, and dwell with it—so that it, too, can descend into the human, becoming itself humanized, instead of haunting us from an impalpable beyond.”48 In order to heal, argues Wittman, it is better to focus on different creative interpretations than to dwell on the origin of the trauma, perhaps by transforming the loss into a mythic narrative.49 It is of note that in Italy the coffin of the Unknown Soldier was accompanied by an inscription from Inferno 4 as it was transported from Aquileia to Rome after the First World War: “L’ombra sua torna ch’era dipartita” (His shade, which had departed, now returns).50 As this phrase refers to Virgil, the inscription may suggest that the Unknown Soldier is a spiritual guide (although the meaning is ambiguous as Virgil does not go to Heaven, but instead returns to Limbo).51

Dante’s Divine Comedy inspired a wide variety of interpretations in terms of the imagery of war. The pain and suffering of Inferno and Purgatorio helped to paint a picture of brutal devastation—yet the positive transformation that occurs across these two canticles was sometimes used to suggest that suffering preceded salvation or symbolic rebirth. Other artists drew on the complexity of the Divine Comedy to express their strong sense of ambiguity, leaving the reader, or viewer, uncertain as to whether the ultimate message was positive or negative. All of these potential uses, I argue, can be seen in Moore’s work.


Before we discuss Moore’s use of Dante, I want to give a brief summary of existing scholarship on Moore and trauma. Critics such as Chris Stephens, Jeremy Lewison, and Lyndsey Stonebridge have used the word “trauma” in relation to Moore’s work and its association with the experience of war.52 The psychologist Peter Levine describes trauma as the suffering that results from any event that is perceived as life-threatening or overwhelming.53 Numerous symptoms can arise from unresolved trauma, including the long-term compulsion to repeat: [End Page 161]

We are inextricably drawn into situations that replicate the original trauma in both obvious and less obvious ways. . . . We may find ourselves re-experiencing the effects of trauma either through physical symptoms or through a full-blown interaction with the external environment. . . . Children who have had a traumatic experience will often repeatedly recreate it in their play. As adults, we are often compelled to re-enact our early traumas in our daily lives. The mechanism is similar regardless of the individual’s age.54

This compulsion towards repeated reenactment represents an internal drive to confront and deal with unresolved trauma, but this process can be entirely subconscious. Sigmund Freud first proposed the instinctive compulsion to recreate, or revisit, traumatic events in his 1920 essay “Beyond the Pleasure Principle.” In this essay Freud suggests that the unconscious compulsion to repeat is connected with an urge to restore an earlier state of things, and to take on an active part in what may have felt like a passive experience over which the traumatized person had little or no control.55 Hipp modifies Freud’s model slightly, seeing the repetition of nightmares and obsessive thoughts—as experienced by Owen and Sassoon—as a search for the relief from anxiety.56 Repetitive nightmares, however, can only lead to a “mastery” of the trauma if the sufferer is able to confront the difficult memories or thoughts.57

If the trauma is not properly addressed, over time the symptoms can grow increasingly complex, becoming less and less connected with the original experience. Moore himself was aware of his compulsion to revisit the same subjects—for example the reclining figure, the mother and child theme, and the helmet forms—and once said of his own art:

One has obsessions of that sort. You don’t ever want to repeat an experience that you’ve had once while making a sculpture, but yet the idea keeps coming back and back at you and you have to do something about it. . . . If you don’t do that, it is almost impossible to go on living.58

Whilst Moore does not specify the full nature of his obsessions, the fervency of his compulsion to repeat does suggest a strong underlying psychological impulse.

Moore was also conscious of being drawn to the work of others that held within it a disturbing element or a struggle of some kind. Yet he himself was not interested in creating work that was blatantly shocking;59 for him, hidden, unresolved conflict could best be suggested more [End Page 162] subtly. The methods he favored included bringing together opposing qualities, introducing imperfections into the work, or creating the sense that something was missing, or not quite right.

In order to understand how Moore employed the imagery of the Divine Comedy, and especially how he took inspiration from Doré’s illustrations for the epic poem (c. 1855–68), we will now compare drawings created by Moore during the Second World War with specific engravings by Doré used to illustrate the Divine Comedy.60 In chronological order, these will include Moore’s September 3rd, 1939, his Underground drawings, and sketches of men working in coalmines.


On the morning of September 3, 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced that the United Kingdom was once again at war with Germany. Still at an age eligible for conscription, Moore marked this portentous moment by producing a drawing titled September 3rd, 1939 (figure 1). In this eerie scene, the lower part of each of the figures appears to be trapped below the luminous, pink surface. Stonebridge notes that this disturbing seascape was created whilst the artist and his family were on holiday in Dover, and that the encased figures are victims of war, their bizarre “heads-within-heads” recalling the interior/exterior imagery of Moore’s Helmet Head series.61 Alan Wilkinson also equates the foreboding imagery of this picture with war, suggesting that the strange heads of the bathers recall “the familiar form of gas masks.”62 September 3rd, 1939 may also recall some of the brutal inversions described in Sas-soon’s poetry of the First World War: in “Counter- Attack” (1918), for instance, Sassoon ends the poem with an image of a soldier drowning in his own blood, falling clumsily sideways like a swimmer sinking beneath the waves.63 Written just one year earlier, in 1917, Sassoon’s poem “In the Pink” contrasts this optimistic phrase with the wretched reality of war.64 In the context of September 3rd, 1939, the reference to bathers trapped in a solidified, pink liquid—literally in the pink—could be an ironic nod towards Sassoon’s eloquent poetry.

The manner in which some of these bathers turn their open mouths to the sky, and the visual “slicing” of their torsos as they disappear below the surface, brings to mind two sculptures by Moore, Four-Piece [End Page 163] Composition: Reclining Figure (1934; Tate, London, LH 154) and Reclining Figure: Festival (1951; Tate, London, LH 293 plaster). Both of these sculptures have similar open mouths and limbs that have been sheered at the ankles, as though the feet have disappeared below an imaginary surface. Whilst the former has been linked to Moore’s own memories of war,65 the hollow structure of the latter has been described as “the entrance to a kingdom of the dead.”66 In this light it could be argued that Moore’s uncanny reference to the paraphernalia of war in September 3rd, 1939 was in part an acknowledgement of his own disturbing memories of the First World War.

The disquieting spectacle of September 3rd, 1939, with its submerged bodies and ominous sky, recalls two images by Doré: a painting titled Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Circle of Hell (figure 2) and an engraved illustration for Inferno 32 (figure 3). Both of Doré’s pictures illustrate the same canto, in which Dante and Virgil encounter sinners frozen fast in icy water. Dante describes figures trapped in a solidified substance such as gelatin (Inf. 32.58–60), or glass:

  I turned then and saw before me and beneath myfeet a lake to which icy cold gave the appearance ofglass and not of water.67

(Inf. 32.22–24)

These analogies summon up both a sticky, viscous substance and matter that is hard and inflexible. In terms of September 3rd, 1939, the image of frozen sinners may have symbolized wounded or dead soldiers partially buried in loose or compacted earth, or else in deep, watery mud.

Where can we detect Doré’s influence on Moore’s drawing? In the use of color, for one. Dante in his red cape, standing on the ice with the wretched figures at his feet (the figure on the right in Doré’s painting), may be the inspiration for the unusual color of the dramatic cliffs looming behind Moore’s bathers. Roughly equivalent in terms of height and positioning to the figure in the painting, Moore’s cliffs are also red—a choice without an obvious reason. The sinners in the foreground of Doré’s painting have a ghostly, yellow pallor, a color shared by Moore’s trapped figures. Alongside the influence of the painting, Moore also evokes Doré’s engraving by including clear, black outlines and linear shading. (The drawing's sparse landscape—devoid of trees—is suggestive of the devastated plains of the Western Front.) [End Page 164]

Figure 1. September 3rd, 1939, by Henry Moore. 1939. Pencil, wax crayon, chalk, watercolor, and pen and ink, 30.6 by 39.8 cm. HMF 1551. (The Moore Danowski Trust).
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Figure 1.

September 3rd, 1939, by Henry Moore. 1939. Pencil, wax crayon, chalk, watercolor, and pen and ink, 30.6 by 39.8 cm. HMF 1551. (The Moore Danowski Trust).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 2. Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Circle of Hell, by Gustave Doré. 1861. Oil on canvas, 315 by 450 cm. (Musée municipal de Bourg-en-Bresse, Monastère royal de Brou, France). Source: Wikimedia.
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Figure 2.

Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Circle of Hell, by Gustave Doré. 1861. Oil on canvas, 315 by 450 cm. (Musée municipal de Bourg-en-Bresse, Monastère royal de Brou, France). Source: Wikimedia.

Figure 3. Engraving for Inferno 32, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 67. Photographed by Adam Walker.
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Figure 3.

Engraving for Inferno 32, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 67. Photographed by Adam Walker.

[End Page 165]

In 1939 Moore’s uncertainty around his future role in this new war, and his concern for those he loved, must have weighed heavily on his mind. This is what Moore wrote of those anxious months, during which he moved from Kent back to London:

I felt it was silly to start a large sculpture when at any moment I might have to give it up. So I took up drawing. Months went by, waiting; I went on drawing. Then the air-raids began—and the war from being an awful worry became a real experience.68

As the Second World War progressed, Londoners began to assemble in Underground stations in order to shelter from the bombing. Moore was moved by “the unbelievable scenes and life of the underground shelters,”69 but he was particularly drawn to groups of huddled figures trying to sleep.70 I believe that the influence of Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy is particularly strong in Moore’s series of drawings of the Underground. As an example, Tube Shelter Perspective: The Liverpool Street Extension (figure 4) and Woman Seated in the Underground (figure 5) chime strongly with Doré’s image of the penitent being healed of the sin of avarice in Purgatorio 19 (figure 6).

In Doré’s engraving for Purgatorio 19 Virgil is standing upright, Dante is kneeling, and the penitents are lying side by side on the ground, their prostrate bodies forming a long line that tapers off into the distance. The viewer looks down on this dark scene which is lit by a light source that remains out of view, but which highlights Virgil and the recumbent men in the foreground. Some of the sinners have their heads turned away from the viewer and some of the faces in the distance are loosely sketched. This results in an overall sense of uniformity, rather than a portrait of individual souls. These same qualities can be seen in Moore’s Underground drawings, with Tube Shelter Perspective: The Liverpool Street Extension exhibiting the same strong perspective view of figures lying next to each other, and a similar line of bodies stretching out to fill almost the whole height of the picture. The line of recumbent figures even curves slightly to the left as the line disappears out of sight, as happens in Doré’s illustration. In addition, the lighting is comparable, with dark station walls and highlighted figures, and Moore has similarly paid little attention to the individual characteristics of each sleeper. Obvious differences are that Moore depicted two rows of figures instead of one, and that he drew his sleepers on their backs instead of on their fronts. [End Page 166]

Figure 4. Tube Shelter Perspective: The Liverpool Street Extension, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 47.7 by 43.2 cm. HMF 1801. (Tate Britain, London).
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Figure 4.

Tube Shelter Perspective: The Liverpool Street Extension, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 47.7 by 43.2 cm. HMF 1801. (Tate Britain, London).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 5. Woman Seated in the Underground, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 48.2 by 38 cm. HMF 1828. (Tate Britain, London).
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Figure 5.

Woman Seated in the Underground, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 48.2 by 38 cm. HMF 1828. (Tate Britain, London).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 6. Engraving for Purgatorio 19, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Purgatory and Paradise (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 27. Photographed by Adam Walker.
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Figure 6.

Engraving for Purgatorio 19, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Purgatory and Paradise (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 27. Photographed by Adam Walker.

[End Page 167]

In Moore’s Woman Seated in the Underground a female is perched on a bench in the foreground and behind her we see a single line of recumbent, roughly sketched figures. This reflects the contrast in Doré’s engraving of Purgatorio 19 between the larger, upright figures of Virgil and Dante and the smaller, horizontal figures behind them. The angular neckline of the seated woman and the length of cloth across her knees are reminiscent of Doré’s portrayal of Virgil, whose loose neckline has fallen into an angular crease, and whose long sleeve trails from his right arm down to his knees.

In both Tube Shelter Perspective: The Liverpool Street Extension and Woman Seated in the Underground, the tone is generally monochromatic, with a hint of yellow. The linear style of Moore’s drawings, the detailed texture of the shading, and the diverse tonal range (from white through to black) all mirror aspects of Doré’s engraved illustration. Moore employed a very particular technique for his wartime drawings that involved the application of watercolor washes over wax crayon. The light-colored wax underneath prevented the darker washes on top from sinking into the paper, leaving these areas white. When the paint had dried, he drew into the picture with pencil, chalk, and Indian ink. This technique helped Moore obtain a grainy quality to the image that echoes the mass of tiny black and white marks that make up the surface of an engraving.

In the Tate’s exhibition catalogue from 2010, David Mellor does connect Moore’s Underground drawings to Doré’s engravings, but not to Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy.71 Mellor argues that in the propaganda war film Out of Chaos (September 1943), the notion of Moore walking along Holborn Underground station, amongst the abject jumble of sleeping bodies, was refigured to show the artist as a modern-day Blanchard Jerrold or Gustave Doré, who together had sought to expose the brutal underside of London in their book London: A Pilgrimage (1872).72 Mellor gives an example of one of Doré’s illustrations from this nineteenth-century example of social journalism, Bible Reading in the Night Refuge, in which a man reading from the bible stands next to a line of supine figures on a raised sleeping area. Mellor notes that both Moore and Doré shared “a sinuous linear language and an uncanniness of placement within an environment of sordid spaces,” and that both were “inspired to reveal London as an inferno of modernised social life.”73 Mellor’s comparison between the work of Moore and Doré, however, is made briefly as part of a wider argument about Moore’s depiction of the abject. [End Page 168]

Moore himself notes that his drawings of Underground shelters, and his later depictions of miners working underground, were linked to his trip to Italy in 1925 when he won a traveling scholarship as an art student.74 He cites the specific influence of Masaccio and the humanist approach to art in the Renaissance. On the subject of Renaissance art, Moore’s great respect for the work of Michelangelo was in evidence around the outbreak of the Second World War in his sculpture Three Points (1939–40, LH 211), which recalled the closely aligned fingertips of Adam and God in Creation of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.75 Michelangelo, in turn, was influenced by the poetry of Dante, as recorded by his sixteenth-century contemporaries Giorgio Vasari and Ascanio Condivi.76 It may be the case that Moore was led to investigate the work of Dante in the 1930s, as part of his general interest in Renaissance art.

Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy contained references to the type of Italian art that Moore would have seen in Italy, including work by Michelangelo. In Doré’s engraving for Inferno 24,77 there are several figures intertwined with snakes; in the foreground, on the left-hand side, a tormented man resembles the priest from the Vatican's Laocoön Group and next to him are two allusions to Michelangelo’s artwork, his sculpture Dying Slave (1513–15; Louvre, Paris) and his painting of Haman in Punishment of Haman (1511; Sistine Chapel ceiling, Vatican). Doré’s depiction of Haman is significant here as Michelangelo had been inspired by Dante’s description of Haman’s crucifixion (rather than the biblical account of his hanging) in Purgatorio 17.78 In the foreground of Doré’s engraving for Inferno 2579 is a reference to the Farnese Hercules (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples), and in his illustration for Inferno 2980 is a visual quotation of the Vatican’s Belvedere Torso. Moore’s trip to Italy in 1925 was profoundly unsettling for the young artist as it caused within him “a violent conflict”—a conflict of aesthetics. The Italian artwork he encountered there was a profound departure from the elemental, archaic art that had inspired him until that point.81 This internal conflict made him miserable while he tried to work out how he could synthesize the two opposing styles. For Moore, then, Doré’s illustrations of Dante’s poetry could have communicated something of his traumatic experience both of the first war and of the psychological discomfort that resulted from his Italian trip.

Underground stations had also been used as shelters during World War I. David Welsh describes how, during the First World War, “there [End Page 169] were similarities between the metallic and automated world of the underground and the armed automation of the front line with its machine guns, tanks and artillery.”82 The Underground, and tunnels in general, were also used to symbolize a metaphorical descent into an infernal underworld. In Walter Bayes’s painting The Underworld (1918; Imperial War Museum, London), for example, there is a suggestion that the tired-looking shelterers on the Underground platform have descended to Hades.83 This was in line with similar imagery used by wartime writers, including Roy Vickers in his story “The Eighth Lamp” (1915), in which the Underground is a portal to Hades.84 In Sassoon’s poem “The Rear-Guard” (1917) a soldier escapes the horror of an underground death by climbing up a shaft, “Unloading hell behind him step by step,” and in Eliot’s “Burnt Norton” (first published in 1936), commuters descend into Purgatory via Gloucester Road station.85

There were also positive readings of the Underground, however: not only could it be perceived as a modern and comfortable service that helped to keep the country moving, its subterranean shelters offered a place of safety and camaraderie for many people at a time of intense suffering and alienation. Similarly, despite the initial bleakness of Inferno, the Divine Comedy also contains a positive, transformational element as the pilgrim travels through the darkness of Hell towards the dazzling light of Paradise. Purgatory represents the central point in the poem, when the journey changes from one of despair to one of hopefulness. In this light, Moore’s allusion to Purgatorio in his Underground drawings could be understood as a durable sign of hope and salvation for Londoners as well as a momentary respite from the hellish bombings in the streets above.

The sinners lying on the ground in Doré’s engraving for Purgatorio 19 are being cured of the sin of avarice. Whilst this particular sin appears to have no specific bearing on Moore’s pictures, the notion of penitents having to endure suffering in order to achieve a higher goal does chime with the idea of Londoners having to endure the Blitz as part of the national effort to win the war. In this canto the pilgrim gives a moving account of the tormented penitents:

  When I was loosed onto the fifth circle, I sawpeople weeping there, lying on the earth, allfacing downward. [End Page 170]   “Adhaesit pavimento anima mea!” I heard themsaying, with such deep sighs that what wasspoken could hardly be understood.  “O chosen of God, whose sufferings bothjustice and hope make less harsh, direct ustoward the high ascent.”

(Purg. 19.70–78)86

The phrase “Adhaesit pavimento anima mea” (My soul hath cleaved to the pavement), a quote from the long acrostic Psalm 118,87 seems particularly apt for Moore’s shelterers who were often depicted stretched and unconscious with sleep on the station floor. Augustine’s commentary on this Psalm interprets it as a prayer against attachment to earthly things,88 which again seems apt for Moore’s drawings as the shelterers came to the Underground with only the bare essentials, leaving their worldly goods to the mercy of the German bombers.

There have been very few alternative suggestions around potential influences for Moore’s Underground drawings. Mellor argues that Moore used news-reportage photography as a source for some of his shelter drawings and gives as an example Moore’s transformation of two black and white photographs from the Picture Post into seated figures in Women and Children in the Tube (1940; Imperial War Museum, HMF 1726).89 Wilkinson also suggests that the gaping mouths and extreme foreshortening of Moore’s Two Sleepers (1941; Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, HMF 1853) may recall Andrea Mantegna’s The Agony in the Garden (c.1455–56; National Gallery, London) and that, in a general way, Moore’s sleeping figures were like Egyptian mummies.90 These combined references were one way Moore created layers of meaning in his work, with Mantegna’s painting drawing on the Italian theme and allusions to Egyptian mummies recalling the theme of death and underground spaces.

As well as being inspired by Dante’s Inferno and Purgatorio for his Underground drawings, Moore also referenced Paradiso, with his Tube Shelter Perspective pictures (figures 7 and 8) particularly closely aligned with Doré’s illustration for Paradiso 31 (figure 9). In figure 7 (HMF 1775) we see the white, concentric rings delineating the tunnel walls. There are a line of light-colored figures on each side of the tunnel, creating a dark rectangular shape on the shelter floor between the two groups of people. In figure 8 (HMF 1774) the composition is very similar but in this case everything is light, including the people, the floor, and the [End Page 171] tunnel. We see the same radiating circles that emphasize the perspective of the tunnel as it drops away from the viewer, and in both drawings the tunnel disappears into a relatively small circle.

These two drawings resonate with the design of Doré’s illustration for Paradiso 31. Moore’s concentric circles and distant tunnel evoke Doré’s paradisiacal scene in which God’s divine wisdom and love is symbolized by the rings of luminous angels, and by a central, glowing disc. The silhouette of the pilgrim and his guide set against the glowing tiers above them is reminiscent of the darker, elongated area set between the two rows of white figures in Moore’s drawings. If one were to imagine a train—with lights blazing—powering through the tunnel towards the viewer, the resultant image would come very close to Doré’s engraving.

Moore’s viewpoint is such that the onlooker’s line of sight could represent that of the pilgrim and his guide, as they look up at the miraculous vision before them. In this way, the viewer—or indeed Moore himself—could take the place of the pilgrim in the text of Paradiso 31. This scene in the tunnel, then, could represent the artist’s hope for his own protection from the threat of war, as well as the protection of his fellow Londoners. In his various iterations of the shelter drawings, Moore’s imagery suggests he was setting the dangers of the war above ground against the welcoming security of the Underground station. Moore metaphorically shifted his perspective so that, instead of standing in a cramped and smelly Underground tunnel, he was—like the pilgrim and his guide—looking up towards a more hopeful vision. In Moore’s drawings the anguished, suffering figures on the station platforms are transformed into the winged souls soaring high above, and the tunnel itself becomes the ultimate symbol of salvation.

On the other hand, the barrack-like elements of these crowded, underground shelters—the appalling smell, and the general sense of anxiety—could also evoke elements of the cramped trenches of the First World War, where men would have slept fully dressed under the ever-present threat of a military attack. This idea is emphasized in Moore’s wartime drawings by the indistinct way in which many of the sleepers are depicted, subtly refiguring the tunnels as repositories of faceless, shrouded cadavers.

The ambiguity that results from these distinct interpretational possibilities has been observed by many commentators. Mellor, for instance, suggests that Moore’s shelter drawings should be understood as images [End Page 172]

Figure 7. Tube Shelter Perspective, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, and watercolor, 24.8 by 18.8 cm. HMF 1775. (Whereabouts unknown).
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Figure 7.

Tube Shelter Perspective, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, and watercolor, 24.8 by 18.8 cm. HMF 1775. (Whereabouts unknown).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 8. Tube Shelter Perspective, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, and watercolor, 61.1 by 52.2 cm. HMF 1774. (Henry Moore Foundation).
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Figure 8.

Tube Shelter Perspective, by Henry Moore. 1941. Pencil, wax crayon, and watercolor, 61.1 by 52.2 cm. HMF 1774. (Henry Moore Foundation).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 9. Engraving for Paradiso 31, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Dante, Paradise (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 59. Photographed by Adam Walker.
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Figure 9.

Engraving for Paradiso 31, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Dante, Paradise (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 59. Photographed by Adam Walker.

[End Page 173]

of stoicism and endurance, but that his reclining subjects were “over-written with deathly decay and putrefaction.”91 Berthoud notes Moore’s interest in the destructive impact of the bombing in images such as Morning after the Blitz (1940; HMF 1558), as well as the contrasting “larvae-like” recumbent figures in Air Raid Shelter Drawing: Gash in Road (1940; HMF 1557),92 which may symbolize the emergence of new life after the destruction of war. Stonebridge argues that Moore’s shrouded shelterers “hover somewhere between death and secure repose.”93 Finally, Erich Neumann writes that Moore’s subterranean drawings combine the collapse of the modern, civilized world with the cavernous, protecting womb of the Great Mother; in this view it is not clear whether Moore’s reclining figures are dead bodies or living sleepers.94

This ambiguous, multi-layered reading of Moore’s Underground drawings is strengthened when one considers how the artist’s own description of the Underground shelters echoes a phrase from Paradiso 31. In this canto the pilgrim thanks Beatrice for rescuing him, both in terms of his career and the religious transformation he undergoes over the course of his journey:

  “O lady in whom my hope has strength andwho deigned for my salvation to leave yourfootprints in Hell:  the grace and efficacy of all the things that Ihave seen, I acknowledge to come from yourpower and your goodness.  You have drawn me from slavery to liberty byall those ways, by all the modes that you hadthe power to use.”95

(Par. 31.79–87)

Dante’s reference to slavery chimes with Moore’s likening of the shelterers to slaves packed together in the hold of a slaveship.96 If Moore’s analogy was inspired by Paradiso 31 it is indeed possible that the sheltering Londoners were, in his mind, on a metaphorical journey which would eventually deliver them from the hellish experiences of war. Dante’s autobiographical reference to his own writing may also have resonated with Moore’s memories of his own short career as a soldier, and with his difficulties reconciling the art he experienced in Italy with the “primitive” art from the British Museum that had made such an impression on him. Following this autobiographical vein, Moore’s [End Page 174] drawings of Paradiso could represent his hope for resolution in these two important aspects of his life.

The Divine Comedy is rich in contrasting imagery and, as such, represents an ideal source for any artist or writer wishing to express ambiguous meaning in their work. Most obviously, there is a stark contrast between the dark depths of Hell and the dazzling heights of Paradise. Dorothy Sayers describes how other elements of the Divine Comedy are created as antithetical reflections, such as the “Miserific” Vision of Satan at the end of Inferno and the Beatific Vision of God in the closing scenes of Paradiso.97 In addition, Dante’s ingenious contrapasso system of poetic justice is antithetical in nature, with the punishments in Inferno—and the curative sanctions in Purgatorio—contrasting or resembling the sin committed.

In 1942 Moore created a series of drawings focused on coalminers at work.98 Like his pictures of the Underground shelters, these monotone drawings also depict cramped scenes belowground, and are captured in the same linear, wax-resist technique. Moore spent two or three weeks drawing coalmines in Yorkshire, including Flocton Colliery and the Wheldale Colliery in his home town of Castleford. A possible source of inspiration for Moore’s coalmining series lies in the fact that his father once worked as a manager at the Wheldale Colliery,99 although as an office worker rather than a laborer, Moore’s father would not necessarily have experienced the same conditions as the miners. As for possible artistic influences, Moore himself stated that the miners reminded him of Masaccio’s Florentine frescos, in which the whites of the eyes contrasted sharply to the darker tones of the men’s faces.100 Moore apparently felt the mines recalled Georges Seurat’s drawings, in which areas of luminosity were set against sections of absolute black.101 Neither Masaccio nor Seurat, however, depicted underground environments. The naming of Masaccio and Seurat may have been a playful diversion on Moore’s part, to keep attention away from Doré’s illustrations, although his mention of Florence (a city of the utmost importance to the Divine Comedy) is interesting in light of Moore’s comparison of the oppressive, claustrophobic mines to a hellish underworld:

The thick choking dust, the noise of the coal-cutting machines and the men shovelling and pickaxing, the almost unbearable heat and the dense darkness hardly penetrated by the faint light from the miners lamps, the consciousness of being [End Page 175] nearly a mile below ground, all made it seem at first like some terrible man-made inferno.102

Berthoud, who knew Moore personally and who wrote a book about the artist with his cooperation, understood this comment to be a reference to Dante’s Inferno.103 On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Moore combined a number of references for his mining pictures, with Doré’s Dante illustrations acting as the unifying, overarching inspiration.

Not only would the cramped, dirty mines have reflected something of the squalid conditions of the trenches, they may have reminded Moore of the underground tunnels that were created beneath enemy trenches in order to plant explosives. Tunnels were also built to enable the distribution of supplies across the battlefield. Understandably, the job of digging out these intricate, subterranean networks was often carried out by soldiers who had had experience of working in coalmines.104 With regard to Cambrai, where Moore fought in 1917, a series of underground tunnels was found stretching out from under the Arras-Cambrai road, towards enemy lines.105

The initial idea for drawing coalmines came from Moore’s close friend Herbert Read in 1941.106 It was certainly the case that during the early 1940s Read was recollecting his own dreadful experiences as a soldier in the First World War, as is clear from his poem “The Conscript of 1940.” Like Moore, Read had fought in 1917 close to the Arras-Cambrai road, around the area of the underground tunnels.107 Read also served in the area between Ypres and Hooge,108 and would no doubt have known that this land was traversed by a German mine gallery.109 Tragically, thousands of soldiers died over the course of World War I after being injured or trapped in collapsed, underground passageways such as these.

The interpretation of Moore’s coalmine drawings as images of Dante’s Inferno is strengthened when one compares some of Moore’s pictures with Doré’s dark illustrations for Inferno. Moore’s drawing of a seated miner next to a snaking pipe (figure 10), for example, is comparable with Doré’s depiction of Minos with his serpentine tail wrapped around his body (figure 11). The environment in each case is dark and cavernous, and the rock walls are hinted at with gray, linear shading. Both images depict a man perched on a rock with his back to the viewer, his muscles highlighted by a source of light coming from the right. The snake-like [End Page 176]

Figure 10. Miner with Tupping Machine in Flocton Colliery, by Henry Moore. 1942. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 20.4 by 16.2 cm. HMF 1944. (Henry Moore Foundation).
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Figure 10.

Miner with Tupping Machine in Flocton Colliery, by Henry Moore. 1942. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 20.4 by 16.2 cm. HMF 1944. (Henry Moore Foundation).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 11. Engraving for Inferno 5, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 13. Photographed by Adam Walker.
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Figure 11.

Engraving for Inferno 5, by Gustave Doré. In Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 13. Photographed by Adam Walker.

[End Page 177]

object in the foreground of each picture is uniformly textured, and both men stare out towards a distant group—a group of standing figures in Hell in the one; in the other a group of white lines and bright dots likely representing men working in the mine.

Doré’s engraving illustrates a scene from Inferno 5, in which Dante describes how Minos identifies which circle in Hell each sinner is to inhabit by the number of times he wraps his tail around his body:

  Thus I descended from the first circle down to thesecond, which encloses a smaller space, but so muchmore suffering that it goads the souls to shriek.  There stands Minos bristling and snarling: heexamines the soul’s guilt at the entrance; he judgesand passes sentence by how he wraps.110

(Inf. 5.1–6)

This scene is important as it indicates the depth each soul is to descend, and thus the level of suffering each will endure. Minos could almost be thought of as an all-encompassing symbol for Hell, as he encounters every sinner that enters it. For soldiers, the “grading” of punishment might equate to the possible range of war experiences they could face; while some may escape the war relatively unscathed, others will be severely maimed or killed. With this in mind, the darkness of Miner with Tupping Machine in Flocton Colliery, the rubble-like quality to the coal scattered around the miner, and the ominous streaks across his naked back could all be interpreted as destructive signs of war.

As September 3rd, 1939 was created at the very outset of the Second World War, Moore’s allusion to Inferno would have related to his memories of the last war as well as to his anxieties about what lay ahead. For those drawings made after 1939, the imagery would also have related to reports of fighting in the Second World War, and perhaps to reportage photography. World War I and II were comparable in that they both involved enormous loss of life, relied strongly on mechanization, and included tactics such as gas attacks and trench warfare. Both wars also took an immense psychological toll on the people fighting, as well as on those back home. In this regard, there may have been an element of Moore’s veiled allusions to war that was not aimed at a specific conflict, but at the notion of war in general.

Apart from Miner with Tupping Machine in Flocton Colliery, Moore’s drawings of coalmines follow Doré’s illustrations of Inferno in a general [End Page 178] way, in that they all depict dark, underground scenes in which men are suffering under difficult conditions. In almost all of Doré’s illustrations for Inferno, darkness is illuminated by small areas of light. This sense of concealed, closed-off space is echoed in Moore’s coalmine drawings, which have similar areas of intense, white highlights. As with the Underground drawings, Moore also recalled the style of Doré’s engravings through his unique technique of combining wax crayons with a watercolor wash, and then working into the surface with mixed media.

When we compare Moore’s drawing of a miner carrying a lamp (figure 12) with Doré’s illustration for Inferno 10 (figure 13), it is possible to see this essential similarity. These images both feature a relatively small light source which is radiating out into the darkness, creating subtle highlights on the surrounding rocks and on the faces above it. Wilkinson reports that this miner reminded Moore of William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World (1853; Keble College, Oxford).111 Although the miner and Christ both hold a glowing lamp, Hunt’s painting is set outside in the open rather than in a confined space, and it is brightly colored rather than monochromatic. It is also a painting rather than an image made of linear marks. Whilst Doré did not include a man carrying a lamp in any of his engravings for Inferno, the oppressive quality conveyed in his illustrations of Hell is a much closer fit to Moore’s Coalminer Carrying Lamp—and to the coalmining series in general— than Hunt’s painting of Christ.

It could also be argued that Doré’s illustration for Inferno 7, in which a group of sinners are pushing rocks up an incline,112 is broadly comparable with Moore’s drawings of miners pushing tubs of coal through a mine, as we see in At the Coal Face, A Miner Pushing a Tub (1942; Imperial War Museum, HMF 1991) and Studies for ‘At the Coalface Miner Pushing Tub and Coalminers’ (1942; Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett, HMF 1958). In Doré’s engraving, and in Moore’s drawings, highlights emphasize the straining muscles of the miners as they push their heavy loads through the darkness.

Throughout Moore’s Second World War drawings, of the Underground and the mines, the extended influence of Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy can thus be linked to the choice of subject matter as well as the portrayal of dramatic darks and lights. Yet apart from the testament of Moore’s daughter, mentioned above, there appears to be no public acknowledgement by the artist of the debt he owed Doré. [End Page 179]

Figure 12. Coalminer Carrying Lamp, by Henry Moore. 1942. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 48.1 by 39 cm. HMF 1986. (Henry Moore Family Collection).
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Figure 12.

Coalminer Carrying Lamp, by Henry Moore. 1942. Pencil, wax crayon, watercolor, and pen and ink, 48.1 by 39 cm. HMF 1986. (Henry Moore Family Collection).

Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

Figure 13. Engraving for Inferno 10, by Gustave Doré. In D. Alighieri and H.F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 30. Photographed by Adam Walker.
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Figure 13.

Engraving for Inferno 10, by Gustave Doré. In D. Alighieri and H.F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903), plate 30. Photographed by Adam Walker.

[End Page 180]


Moore’s wartime drawings moved his art forward in a number of important ways. If we grant Doré’s engravings their influence, the illustrations for the Divine Comedy allowed Moore to further explore his traumatic memories of the First World War and to give form to his anxieties around the Second World War. This is equivalent to what artists and writers had achieved in World War I, when they turned to Dante’s poetry to express their own personal experience of conflict. Moore perfected a multimedia technique that combined drawing with paint washes. The resultant pictures were no longer just a means for working out sculptural ideas, but became an end point in themselves. Moore’s wartime drawings saw the development of his interest in material, specifically the way in which it falls and wrinkles as it covers the body.113 The artist wrote that this series of drawings also helped him to discover “the male figure and the qualities of the figure in action.”114

Finally, Moore wrote of his wartime drawings: “looking back, my Italian trip and the Mediterranean tradition came once more to the surface . . . perhaps [as] a temporary resolution of that conflict which caused me those miserable first six months after I had left Masaccio behind in Florence and had once again come within the attraction of the archaic and primitive sculptures of the British Museum.”115 This last point is particularly interesting as Moore’s revisiting of Italian culture touches on all of his new developments. His portrayal of active, nude men was a nod to the magnificent sculpture he would have seen in Italy, in which the twisting, male body is shown off to its best advantage. His drawings of shrouded sleepers recall masterful Renaissance carvings of material on flesh, as well as the more disturbing notion of shrouded or bandaged bodies.

Moore arrived at a union of the two contrasting, artistic styles by paring his figures back so they retained distilled elements drawn from Italian art, whilst at the same time displaying the power and simplicity of “primitive” art. His allusions to illustrations of the Divine Comedy evoke Doré’s references to Italian art, as well as Dante’s poetic ideas that were so popular with Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo. Moore’s ongoing struggle to reconcile Italian art with the more elemental exhibits of the British Museum paralleled the gnawing psychological aftermath of the First World War. In this light, Doré’s engravings represented [End Page 181] an incredibly rich source of inspiration for Moore which helped him to draw together several different strands of his own personal experience. They also helped Moore to produce a series of ambiguous drawings that tapped into the public’s own feelings at the time, expressing as they did both the devastation of war and the hope of future peace.

It seems highly likely that Moore’s engagement with Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy also helped him to reach a deeper understanding of Dante’s poetry. By immersing himself in Doré’s imagery, Moore surely came to appreciate the virtuosic ways in which the engravings brought Dante’s text to life, from the expressive poses of the characters through to the subtle changes in light as the pilgrim’s journey progressed. That Moore was able to adapt imagery from the Divine Comedy to explore the seismic conflicts of the twentieth century, as well as his own personal experience of art and war, is testament to Dante’s enduring legacy, which continues to enthuse both writers and artists alike.116


1. To read this poem in full, see George Walter, ed., The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (London: Penguin Books, 2006), 67. The poem was first published in Eidola (London, 1917).

2. Alan Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations (Aldershot, UK: Lund Humphries, 2002), 97–124, 294.

3. For Moore’s time in the army, see Roger Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore (London: Giles de la Mare Publishers, 2003), 21–34. This book was first published in 1987. For a detailed, firsthand account of the battle of Cambrai in 1917, see William H. A. Groom, Poor Bloody Infantry: A Memoir of the First World War (London: William Kimber, 1976), 135–51. Groom writes: “Although I had been in this type of fighting it was the first time I had seen what it looked like from a distance and I wondered how on earth anyone could survive such an inferno of shelling, let alone the machine-gun fire” (146). A total of about 45,000 British soldiers died in this battle.

4. Andrea Rose, “Henry Moore’s Daughter Remembers Her Father,” British Council, May 1, 2012,

5. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 41. Wilkinson quotes from John and Véra Russell, “Conversations with Henry Moore,” [London] Sunday Times, December 17, 1961.

6. Ben Shephard, A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Jonathan Cape, 2001), xxiii. Shephard writes that firsthand accounts of the war are hard to come by because most soldiers chose not to recount their experiences. See also Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 [1975]). Fussell describes the general trend towards the cool conveyance of facts: “The trick here is to affect to be entirely unflappable; one speaks as if the war were entirely normal and matter-of-fact” (181).

7. Fussell, Great War and Modern Memory, 49, 51.

8. Charles S. Myers, “A Contribution to the Study of Shell Shock,” The Lancet, February 13, 1915: 316–20.

9. Shephard, A War of Nerves, 123–32. This chapter is aptly named “Skirting the Edges of Hell.” See also Grafton E. Elliot and Tom H. Pear, Shell Shock and Its Lessons (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1917). The authors write: “His [the patient] reason tells him quite correctly, and far too often for his personal comfort, that had he not given, or failed to carry out, a particular order, certain disastrous and memory-haunting results might not have happened. It tells him, quite convincingly, that in his present state he is not as other men are. . . . [E]very nerve-stricken soldier presents a case by itself. Slavish adherence by the physician to one of the classical names or labels used in diagnosis usually spells failure” (2–3).

10. Edgar Jones, “Terror Weapons: The British Experience of Gas and Its Treatment in the First World War,” War in History 21 (July 2014): 355–75. In the First World War “gas neurosis” was treated in a similar way to “shell shock”; Edgar Jones and Neil Greenberg, “Long-Term Psychological Consequences among Chemical Warfare Survivors of World War I and their Current Relevance,” Psychiatric Annals 37 (November 2007): 724–28; and Shephard, A War of Nerves, 62–64.

11. Jones, “Terror Weapons,” 356, 365; Edgar Jones et al., “Psychological Effects of Chemical Weapons: A Follow-up Study of First World War Veterans,” Psychological Medicine 38 (2008): 1419–26; and Jones and Greenberg, “Long-Term Psychological Consequences,” 726–28.

12. Shephard, A War of Nerves, xix, 367, 379, 390–91.

13. Chris Stephens, ed., exh. cat. Henry Moore (Tate Britain, London: Tate Publishing, 2010), 12–13.

14. Stephens, Henry Moore, 15.

15. Jeremy Lewison, Moore (Cologne: Taschen, 2007), 8, 17–27, 37, 46–48, 69; and Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 34.

16. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 280. The author cites Sculpture in the Open Air: LCC Third International Exhibition (Holland Park, London: London County Council, 1954).

17. Tobias Capwell and Hannah Higham, exh. cat., Henry Moore: The Helmet Heads (Wallace Collection, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019), 11, 30, 40, 41, 86. Moore produced his first sketch of a Helmet Head idea c.1935 but went on to produce many drawings, sculptures and prints on the theme of helmets until 1975. Capwell and Higham argue that the models for Moore’s imagery were exhibits in the Wallace Collection in London, as well as helmets that Moore would have seen whilst fighting in the First World War.

18. Stephens, Henry Moore, 127, 183; Lewison, Moore, 69. Although Lewison observes that Moore’s Helmet Head sculptures did sometimes portray the helmet as a protective carapace, like a mother carrying a child in utero, he emphasizes the artist’s depiction of war, noting Moore’s continued references to military helmets and wounded soldiers. Colin Grant, ed., exh. cat. Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery (Dulwich Picture Gallery, London: Scala Publishers, 2004), 97–98. It is suggested that Moore’s Helmet Head sculptures were initially inspired by helmets from the Wallace Collection and the growing threat of war, and culminated in Nuclear Energy (1964–66; LH 525), “one of the most nightmarish shapes spawned by the war” (Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 179). The author describes Moore’s The Helmet (1939–40; Henry Moore Foundation, LH 212) as “womb-like and slightly sinister” with “overtones both of war and of the mother and child theme” (Berthoud, 179). See also Will Grohmann, The Art of Henry Moore (London: Thames & Hudson, 1960), 105–8. Grohmann notes the similarity of the Helmet Head series to “the paraphernalia of war and defence,” such as steel helmets, gas masks and stereo-telescopes (106).

19. Fussell, Great War and Modern Memory, 136.

20. Michael S. Neiberg, ed., The World War I Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2007), 320.

21. I am indebted to Joe Kitchen from the Henry Moore Foundation for this information.

22. Rose, “Henry Moore’s Daughter.”

23. In his book on Pisano, Michael Ayrton suggests that the crowded scene in the divine relief of the emperor Trajan (Purgatorio 10.73–81) may have alluded to the busy scenes characteristic of Pisano’s work. See Michael Ayrton and Henry Moore:, Giovanni Pisano, Sculptor (New York: Weybright and Talley, 1969).; In addition, in a letter to Michael Ayrton dated October 25, 1952, Henry Moore writes that he is reading Ayrton’s recent article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Arts. In this article Ayrton discusses the "visible speech" of the divine Annunciation relief in Purgatorio 10 in relation to the art of Giovanni Pisanno. For this article, see Michael Ayrton, “Giovanni Pisano,” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 100 (October 1952): 783–802, esp. 801–02.

24. Audeh, “Gustave Doré’s Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy,” 133–42. As for early twentieth-century paintings inspired by Doré’s Dante illustrations, Audeh gives as examples Antoine-Auguste Thivet’s Le Huitième Cercle (1903; current location unknown), which borrows directly from Doré’s composition for Inferno 31; and Diogène-Ulysse-Napoléon Maillart's Dante et Virgil aux Enfers (1914; current location unknown), which reflects Doré’s dramatic lighting, as seen in his illustration for Inferno 9.

25. Audeh, “Gustave Doré’s Illustrations,” 141–45.

26. Audeh, “Gustave Doré’s Illustrations,” 136, 139.

27. Audeh, “Gustave Doré’s Illustrations,” 125–26, 142–46.

28. James Fox, British Art and the First World War 1914–1924 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Joseph Loconte, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914–1918 (Nashville, TN: Nelson Books, 2015); Richard Slocombe, Art from the First World War (London: Imperial War Museum, 2014); Laura Wittman, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Modern Mourning, and the Reinvention of the Mystical Body (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011); Daniel Hipp, The Poetry of Shell Shock: Wartime Trauma and Healing in Wilfred Owen, Ivor Gurney and Siegfried Sassoon (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2005); Richard Cork, A Bitter Truth: Avant-Garde Art and the Great War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994); and Samuel Hynes, A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture (London: Pimlico, 1992).

29. Carmelo C. Jaime, ed., Wyndham Lewis the Radical: Essays on Literature and Modernity (Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2004), 138.

30. Peter L. Caracciolo, “From Signorelli to Caligari: Allusions to Painting and Film in The Human Age and Its Visual Precursors,” in Jaime, ed., Wyndham Lewis the Radical, 137–42; and John Brack, “Wyndham Lewis, The Inferno,” Annual Bulletin of the National Gallery of Victoria 7 (1965): 14.

31. Caracciolo, Wyndham Lewis the Radical, 137–40. The author writes that in both Signorelli’s Dante and Virgil entering Purgatory (1499–1502) and Lewis’s A Battery Shelled (1919), one of the figures standing far left in the foreground is autobiographical (Dante and Lewis respectively, who both placed themselves in their own creative work). These foreground witnesses are both presented with “a spectacle of people undergoing a process of appalling transformation” (138).

32. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 214. Wilkinson cites an interview between Michael Chase and Henry Moore, “Moore on his Methods,” Christian Science Monitor (March 24, 1967). Lewis’s publication referencing the protective lobster shell is not named.

33. Hynes, A War Imagined, 342; John Lauber, “Pound’s ‘Cantos’: A Fascist Epic,” Journal of American Studies 12 (April 1978): 3–21; and Edwin Fussell, “Dante and Pound’s ‘Cantos,’ ” Journal of Modern Literature 1 (1970): 75–87. Fussell links Ezra Pound’s “Hell Cantos" to passages in Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

34. Wallace Fowlie, A Reading of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 107–8.

35. Inf. 14.28–39. For this translation, see Robert Durling, ed. and trans., The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Inferno, Volume 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 219–21.

36. Cynthia Brantley Johnson, ed., The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Dante, Volume 1 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), viii and ix.

37. Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock, 6–7, 71.

38. Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock, 69–71, 91.

39. Fox, British Art, 109–32.

40. Whilst Otto Dix depicted injured soldiers, Graham Sutherland painted architecture mangled by bomb blasts, and Paul Nash portrayed war-torn landscapes. For a cross-section of drawings, paintings and sculpture inspired by World War I, including works by Otto Dix and John Nash, see Cork, A Bitter Truth.

41. Fox, British Art, 126. The author cites a 1974 interview with John Nash that was reported in Artists in an Age of Conflict, IWM 323, Reel 2, Imperial War Museum.

42. Cork, A Bitter Truth, 196–98.

43. Cork, A Bitter Truth, 68–69.

44. Cork, A Bitter Truth, 170, 300.

45. See Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock; Wittman, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Loconte, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War; and Cork, A Bitter Truth.

46. Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock, 30–43, esp. 41.

47. Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock, 42–107.

48. Wittman, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 197–204.

49. Wittman, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 200.

50. Wittman, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 89–91. This inscription refers to Inferno 4.81.

51. Wittman, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 91.

52. Stephens, Henry Moore, 13, 15; Lewison, Moore, 8, 37–39; and Lyndsey Stonebridge, “Bombs, Birth, and Trauma: Henry Moore's and D. W. Winnicott's Prehistory Figments,” Cultural Critique, no. 46 (Autumn 2000): 80–101.

53. Peter A. Levine, Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2008), 7–24.

54. Levine, Healing Trauma, 19–20.

55. James Strachey, ed. and trans., Sigmund Freud: Beyond the Pleasure Principle (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1959), xiv, 8–17, 28–37.

56. Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock, 30, 39.

57. Hipp, Poetry of Shell Shock, 39–40.

58. John Russell, Henry Moore (London: Penguin Press, 1968), 25.

59. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 117–20. The author references Joseph Paul Hodin, “Based on Material from a Work in Preparation by Dr Joseph P. Hodin, ‘Conversations with Henry Moore,’ ” The Observer (October 24, 1957).

60. Gustave Doré’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy can be found in: Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Hell (London: Cassell and Company, 1903); Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Purgatory and Paradise (London: Cassell and Company, 1903); and Dante Alighieri and Henry F. Cary, trans., The Vision of Dante, Paradise (London: Cassell and Company, 1903).

61. Stonebridge, “Bombs, Birth, and Trauma,” 86–87. For Berthoud’s description of the figures in September 3rd, 1939 as “anxious swimmers,” see Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 207.

62. Alan Wilkinson, exh. cat., The Drawings of Henry Moore (Tate, London: Tate Gallery Publications, 1977), 103–4, figure 137.

63. For Sassoon’s “Counter-Attack” (1918), see Siegfried Sassoon, War Poems of Siegfried Sas-soon (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004), 48–49. This poem was first published in 1918. For a discussion of Sassoon’s “Counter-Attack” in relation to other allusions to dead and dying soldiers as floundering “swimmers” on the battlefields of the First World War, see Fussell, Great War and Modern Memory, 302.

64. For Sassoon’s “In the Pink” (1917), see Sassoon, War Poems, 13.

65. For Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure (LH 154) as an evocation of Moore’s “wartime memories of dismembered bodies,” see Lewison, Moore, 37.

66. Grohmann, Art of Henry Moore, 53. The author argues that Reclining Figure: Festival (LH 293) is “an incarnation of evil,” its frightening, thrusting bones a reflection of the "age of anxiety.” Grohmann refers to the bronze version of this sculpture held by the Musée d’Art Moderne, but the Tate’s off-white, plaster version looks even more like bone.

67. For this translation, see Durling, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, 499.

68. Philip James, ed., Henry Moore on Sculpture (London: Macdonald & Co., 1968), 212.

69. James, Henry Moore, 212.

70. For a general overview of Henry Moore’s Underground drawings, see Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 191–201; Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 261–64; Wilkinson, Drawings of Henry Moore, 28–36, 103–13; and James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 212–16.

71. David A. Mellor, “ ‘And Oh! The Stench’: Spain, the Blitz, Abjection and the Shelter Drawings,” in Stephens, Henry Moore, 63.

72. Mellor, “And Oh! The Stench.” The documentary Out of Chaos was a film about official war artists and was directed and scripted by Jill Craigie.

73. Mellor, “And Oh! The Stench.”

74. Wilkinson, Drawings of Henry Moore, 35–36, 39; and James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 34, 216–18.

75. For the link between Moore’s Three Points (LH 211) and Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam (Sistine Chapel ceiling), see Ann Garrould, ed., Henry Moore: Volume 2, Complete Drawings 1930–39 (London: Lund Humphries Publishers, 1988), 207. For Moore’s “peculiar obsessive interest” in Michelangelo (Moore’s own words), see James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 175–86.

76. For Michelangelo’s appreciation of Dante’s poetry, see Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, trans., Giorgio Vasari: The Lives of the Artists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 463–64; and George Bull, ed. and trans., Michelangelo: Life, Letters and Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 18, 53, 56, 67–68.

77. Alighieri and Cary, Vision of Hell, plate 53.

78. Charles de Tolnay, Michelangelo, Volume 2: The Sistine Ceiling (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1945), 181. For Doré’s general use of “Michelangelesque figures in radically rendered landscapes,” see Aida Audeh, “Gustave Doré’s Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy: Innovation, Influence, and Reception,” Studies in Medievalism 18 (2010): 137, 158 n. 29. Audeh notes that Théophile Gautier was among the first to compare Doré and Michelangelo, and cites Théophile Gautier, Abécédaire du Salon de 1861 (Paris: E. Dentu, 1861), 132–33.

79. Alighieri and Cary, Vision of Hell, plate 54.

80. Alighieri and Cary, Vision of Hell, plate 59.

81. James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 37–43.

82. David Welsh, Underground Writing: The London Tube from George Gissing to Virginia Woolf (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010), 157, 160.

83. Welsh, Underground Writing, 159–60.

84. Welsh, Underground Writing, 160.

85. Welsh, Underground Writing, 165, 193–94.

86. For this translation, see Robert Durling, ed. and trans., The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio, Volume 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 313.

87. Durling, ed, Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio, 321.

88. Durling, ed, Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio, 321.

89. Mellor, Henry Moore, 53–55. The photographs were taken from the article “Bombed Out” in the Picture Post (October 12, 1940), 10.

90. Wilkinson, Drawings of Henry Moore, 32, 112–13.

91. Mellor, Henry Moore, 58, 60, 62.

92. Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 195–96.

93. Stonebridge, “Bombs, Birth, and Trauma,” 80–101, esp. 83.

94. Erich Neumann, The Archetypal World of Henry Moore (New York: Pantheon Books, 1959), 60–63.

95. For this translation, see Robert Durling, ed. and trans., The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Paradiso, Volume 3 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 625, 633–34.

96. James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 218. Moore likens the Underground shelter to “the hold of a slave-ship” but he does not mention Dante’s poem.

97. Dorothy L. Sayers, Introductory Papers on Dante (London: Methuen & Co., 1954), 68. “Miserific,” used here by Sayers, is a term coined by C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters, a novel originally published in 1942.

98. For a general account of Moore’s drawings of coalmines, see Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 201–6; Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 61, 264–67; Wilkinson, Drawings of Henry Moore, 36–40, 114–20; and James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 216–19. The coalmining drawings were a formal commission in his capacity as a War Artist.

99. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 31.

100. Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore, 203.

101. Berthoud, Life of Henry Moore.

102. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 265. The author cites the British Museum’s exhibition catalogue Auden Poems, Moore Lithographs (London 1974).

103. Berthoud, The Life of Henry Moore, 202. Berthoud writes that Moore ended up crawling further than the working miners, so “no wonder it seemed liked Dante’s Inferno” (202).

104. Damien Finlayson, Supporting Tunnelling Operations in the Great War: The Alphabet Company (Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2018); Robert Johns, Battle Beneath the Trenches: The Cornish Miners of 251st Tunnelling Company R. E. (Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2015); and Barrie Alexander, War Underground (New York: Ballantine Books, 1961).

105. Simon Jones, Underground Warfare, 1914–1918 (Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2010), 230.

106. John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Moore (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), 142. For Herbert Read’s association with Henry Moore, see Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 89–92. Moore and Read first met around 1929.

107. David Goodway, Herbert Read Reassessed (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1998), 33. In 1917 Read fought with the Yorkshire regiment, the Green Howards, south of the Arras-Cambrai road.

108. Goodway, Herbert Read Reassessed, 32.

109. Jones, Underground Warfare, 140 and plate 4.

110. For this translation, see Durling, ed., Divine Comedy, Inferno, 87.

111. Wilkinson, Drawings of Henry Moore, 117–18.

112. Alighieri and Cary, Vision of Hell, plate 22.

113. Wilkinson, Henry Moore, 266. The author cites James Johnson Sweeney, “Henry Moore,” Partisan Review (New York March–April 1947); and Wilkinson, Drawings of Henry Moore, 34.

114. James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 216.

115. James, Henry Moore on Sculpture, 216–18.

116. It is of note that the 2022 Russian-Ukrainian war has been linked to the imagery of Hell and Dante’s Inferno by journalists from a number of countries. The UN humanitarian aid chief Martin Griffiths, for example, is reported as describing the devastated city of Mariupol as “the center of hell.” See Richard Pérez-Peña, “What Happened on Day 41 of the War in Ukraine,” New York Times, April 18, 2022.

For events of the Russian-Ukrainian war likened to “Dante’s Inferno,” see Neta Bar, “Escaping Ukraine, As a Journalist,” Israel Hayom, March 20, 2022,; Damien Lane, “Bucha ‘Guards’ Aren’t Heroes, They’re Just Monsters and Putin Has Stooped to a New Low, But We Shouldn’t Be Surprised,” The Irish Sun, April 22, 2022; and Edward Steen, “Mariupol 'Liberated’—Putin’s War, Day 57/58,” Association of European Journalists, April 22, 2022,