Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth

Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth DBE (10 January 1903 – 20 May 1975) was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. She was "one of the few women artists to achieve international prominence."

Hepworth, her husband Ben Nicholson and their children first visited Cornwall at the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

Hepworth lived in Trewyn Studios in St. Ives from 1949 until her death in 1975. Hepworth said that "Finding Trewyn Studio was sort of magic. Here was a studio, a yard, and garden where I could work in open air and space." St. Ives had become a refuge for many artists during the war. On 8 February 1949, Hepworth and Nicholson co-founded the Penwith Society of Arts at the Castle Inn; nineteen artists were founding members, including Peter Lanyon and Bernard Leach.

Hepworth was also a skilled draughtsman. After her daughter Sarah was hospitalized in 1944, she struck up a close friendship with the surgeon Norman Capener. At Capener's invitation, she was invited to view surgical procedures and, between 1947-1949, she produced nearly eighty drawings of operating rooms in chalk, ink, and pencil. Hepworth was fascinated by the similarities between surgeons and artists, stating: "There is, it seems to me, a close affinity between the work and approach of both physicians and surgeons, and painters and sculptors."