Moore executed this version of Reclining Figure: Angles in the size of a working model, in preparation for the full-size, monumental bronze sculpture he completed later the same year, which measures more than twice the length of the present work. The chief visual motif in this sculpture is the angling of the legs and arms, which creates a rhythmical point-counterpoint within the length of the figure. Moore has dressed this woman in a long skirt, which serves to partly smooth over and unify her angled forms. The subtitle must also refer to the most startling effect that he incorporated in this figure, that of turning her head more than ninety degrees to one side, so that she appears to look over her shoulder, as if someone or something in the distance has suddenly caught her attention. Moore had previously employed a similar positioning of the head in Reclining Figure: Prop, 1976 (Lund Humphries, no. 677), and he later repeated it in Reclining Figure, 1982 (LH, no. 677a).
"The human figure is the basis of all my sculpture," Moore wrote, "and that for me means the female nude." He enumerated the three basic poses of the human figure: standing, sitting and lying down. In the vast majority of his works the female figure is seen sitting or reclining, a preference that initially stemmed from his desire to work in stone, for the practical reason that a standing figure in carved stone is structurally weak at the ankles. "But with either a seated or reclining figure one doesn't have this worry. And between them are enough variations to occupy any sculptor for a lifetime." He noted, moreover, that "of the three poses the reclining figure gives the most freedom, compositionally and spatially. The seated figure has to have something to sit on. You can't free it from its pedestal. A reclining figure can recline on any surface. It is free and stable at the same time. It fits in with my belief that sculpture should be permanent, should last for an eternity" (quoted in D. Mitchinson, ed., Henry Moore Sculpture, with Comments by the Artist, London, 1981, p. 86).