Barbara Hepworth

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Visiting St Ives recently I managed to drag two, very unwilling, children up the hill to Barbara Hepworth’s studio. Having visited it many years ago I was telling them what an utterly magical place it was – luckily after only 5 minutes of wandering around they both wholeheartedly agreed with me. Barbara Hepworth, born in 1903, was an active member of the modernist St Ives movement in the post-war period. Her sculptures are bewitching: fluid, bold and begging to be touched. Using wood, marble and bronze, they speak to me in a way no other sculptures (apart from Anish Kapoor) ever have.

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The upper room in the main part of the building is a light flooded room

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I almost emailed them to offer to re-upholster her chairs, but then realised that in their original state they are an intrinsic part of the museum!

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This sculpture has to be my favourite purely for personal reasons. There used to be a very similar one in Dulwich Park, until it was stolen and melted down for its bronze – which to me is one of the biggest art crimes of all time – now no-one can enjoy it. My children had sat on it over the years, with various friends and relatives and it became a marker of them growing up.

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Here they are on our original one in Dulwich – a long time ago!

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Below is a small selection of her beautiful pieces, I have now booked a weekend away in Wakefield to see the dedicated Hepworth museum up there. I do urge you to go to her studio in St Ives though, to see all her tools still laid out there and to appreciate the organic beauty of her work.

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