St Ives is considered to the mecca of Cornish art, with countless artists and designers making the pilgrimage to the town even today. Barbara Hepworth is the accredited with drawing an artistic community to the Cornish idyll; first bringing her family and husband/internationally renowned painter Ben Nicholson with many following suit soon after. St Ives provided a safe refuge away from wartime London, with the addition of limitless space and natural inspiration unobtainable in the capital.
Today, Hepworth’s studio and garden in the heart of the town houses a vast collection of sculptures, drawings and maquettes. Open to the public for a small fee, the secluded garden displays weather-worn sculptures which blur effortlessly in to the space, perfectly reflecting the theatrical and tempestuous tendencies of rural Cornwall. The smooth, organic curves of the bronze forms mirror the cyclical motions of the waves and ebb and flow of the tide. The changing surface colour, as the copper oxidises a green-toned blue can be seen, the sculptures live on years after completion. Drawing influences from other disciplines in the vital to the progression of any art or design work, in addition increasing your knowledge of the history of art. As a weaver, I’ve been taking inspiration from the evolving tones and textures.
Viewing Hepworth’s work in situ in Cornwall is simply perfect and I would recommend it all. However 1 piece of her work is available to see, for free, outside of the county. John Lewis, Oxford Street in Central London displays ‘Winged Figure’- mounted above street level facing towards Oxford Circus tube station. Typical of Hepworth’s work, the connections to coastl are prominent despite the unusual location.
Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is open daily from 10.00 until 17.20 during the summer months.