Studio Sunday: Barbara Hepworth

A photo of Dame Barbara Hepworth's studio


Take a look inside the workspace of English sculptor Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth! Hepworth was an important figure in modernist sculpture in the mid 1900’s, and one of the few women who rose to prominence in the field. Her former home and studio was purchased by the Tate Britain in 1980, and today operates as the Barbara Hepworth Museum.


The studio, kept intact as it was when the artist was working in it, has a lovely rustic appeal to it. The texture of the walls and tables seems to mimic that of some of the sculptures in progress – I wonder if it’s a buildup of residue from so many years of working. Hepworth worked in this studio from 1949 until her death in 1975, so a huge number of sculptures would have been made between its walls.


I like the shelf on the wall that’s full of old tinted bottles of mysterious media – it makes the space seem like an alchemical laboratory, like Hepworth was producing magic.  While the indoor space pictured above appears small and even cramped, the natural light dappling the sculptures makes it feel quite homey and inviting. Hepworth’s home and studio included a large garden, and the artist often worked outdoors when the weather was good.


Many art historians and curators note that the sculptor’s works have an outdoor sensibility, and are best suited to outdoor display. Today, the outside portion of Hepworth’s studio is a sculpture garden where visitors can enjoy lush foliage and public sculptures.


Barbara Hepworth was well-known as a highly influential figure in modernist sculpture and was one of several artists who lived in the St. Ives area during the Second World War. Another of these artists was Sir Terry Frost, who worked as an assistant to Hepworth in the early 1950’s. 

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Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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