At his own suggestion, Moore was commissioned in August 1941 by the War Artists Advisory Committee to make drawings of Coal Mining at Wheldale Colliery, Yorkshire, where his father had worked at the beginning of the century. Moore made a number of visits during that winter and submitted drawings in May 1942. The original commission was for 25 guineas but eight drawings were purchased for 80 guineas and a further three seem to have been added later. Drawing the male figure was a departure for Moore and lead to the inclusion of male forms in his sculpture.Although coal mining had been in decline since 1913, at the start of the Second World War it was still a large industry, accounting for 10%of all exports. The miner seems impossibly constrained at the coal face, almost inseparable from his surroundings. The subject matter isa continuation of Moore's war time subterranean interests.