After some early experimentation with lino and woodcut printmaking, Henry Moore made his first editioned etching in 1946, and continued printmaking from his studios in Perry Green for the rest of his life. He collaborated with a number of printers and publishers, notably Gérald and Patrick Cramer, Geneva, Stanley Jones of Curwen Press, London and Jacques Frélaut of Frélaut and Lacourière, Paris. Many of these works were contained within the 74 graphic portfolios Moore produced or contributed to over the course of his career. These collections of graphic works were often grouped together by subjects familiar to Moore's practice, such as the reclining figure or mother and child. Others pay hommage to artists and literary figures, such as W.H. Auden, William Shakespeare, Michelangelo and Pablo Picasso.
"[Printmaking] has its own, special possibilities. In a graphic work you can try out ideas and not lose the previous one, because you can retain the previous states – and you’ve got prints of it, anyhow. So it allows you to experiment. You get something, when you make a print, which you can’t foresee exactly... You don’t think out every step in a logical way, you have to have accidents, or what seem to be accidents, and you must take advantage of them."
- Henry Moore, quoted from an interview with Nigel Rees, Kaleidoscope, BBC 22 May 1975