Archive for barbara hepworth

Tomorrows Party – Dame Barbara Hepworth

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , on January 9, 2011 by echostains


Dame Barbara Hepworth

Tomorrow is the birthday of British sculptress Dame Barbara Hepworth b.1903 – 1975 –   I shouldn’t really call Hepworth a sculptress – as she believed in equality of the sexes, especially in the arts.  I am putting this post on today because it’s a week since I posted – and I don’t want to get into bad habits already.  As well as having a horrific flu virus which I’m still trying to shake off, I have been busy planning a very loosely based itinerary of the way the posts shall go and that in itself has taken some time.  Of course, whether I stick strictly to this shall have to be seen……  watch this space (there might even be something in it from time to time).  Now, that is just a joke 😀  Just call it flu delirium 🙂

Barbara Hepworth is very famous for piercing her sculptures.  She pierced her first  form in 1931, the year she gave birth to her first child, ( though Henry Moore got all the credit for being the first to pierce the form in 1932.)  Another characteristic of Hepworth’s work are strings or wires which are stretched over the pierced part of the form.  I have written quite a bit  about Hepworth over the past couple of years:-

Happy Birthday Barbara Hepworth!

A Cornish garden of hidden delights – the Barbara Hepworth Museum Cornwall

To celebrate her birthday this year I am running another poetry competition over on Bookstains.  Just click the image below for details of how to enter this unusual challenge 🙂

 original image from here  Adam Woolfitt here, others from   here and here

Hats Off to York!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions with tags , , , , on November 20, 2010 by echostains

collapsable Opera hat

We’ve recently come back from a few days away in York.  Whilst there, I popped into the city Art Gallery where along with the ceramics, illustrations (wonderful small collection from children’s books) and paintings, there was an exhibition simply called ‘Hats’.  The exhibition which runs from to 18th September 2010 – 23rd  January 2011 tracks the way that hats have been used in social etiquette and trends during the last 400 years.

Jennifer Alexander, assistant curator of fine art, said:

“We have a wonderful collection of paintings from the last 400 years and many show how styles and fashions have changed. From baker hats to bonnets to bowlers, all hats say something about the person wearing it, whether it is their job, their social class or their era.

The hats are delightful and some of the fabrics still in very good condition, the intricate decorations including a dead birds head are fascinating.  But what struck me the most is the size of the hats.  Why are our heads bigger now? The skulls seem tiny compared to our present day ones.  I love hats and have been known to wear a few in my time – after all they can add a good few inches to the shorter person which I think is always a good thing where I’m concerned:-)

Barbara Hepworth Surgeon Waiting

Around the walls of the exhibition are paintings of the hats in their context.  Barbara Hepworth‘s oil and graphite on gesso prepared paper was an unexpected find. 

Miss Mary Arabella Jay exhibited 1819 by William Etty

 York painter William Etty (1787-1849) The Missionary Boy was also on display, unfortunately I couldn’t find an image of it to display here.  Etty was one of the few artists to become successful at large history paintings.  He liked to paint nudes, portraits and later, landscapes.  here’s an example of his work.

English artist Spencer Gore (1878- 1914) was a Founder member of the Fitzroy Street group and was involved with the formation of the Camden Town Group.   He came into contact with Pissarro whose impressionistic style he adapted.  Walter Sickert was another great friend and influence upon his art.  Spencer Gore is an interesting artist in his own right and I shall be writing more about him soon.

Spencer Gore. Balcony at the Alhambra, c. 1911-1912. Oil on canvas

Along with Roger Bissiere‘s Woman in a Straw Hat, other paintings include French artist Jacques Emile Blanche  (1861-1942) whose painting ‘Knightsbridge to Sloane Square’ painted in 1908/9 shows everyone from children to Policeman behatted.  Only the beggars remain bare-headed.

Hepworth image here, Etty image from here Gore image from here and info and more images here

More about York Gallery and the exhibitions here

My 634 post – All my Yesterdays? well, a few of them

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, exhibitions with tags , , , , , , on November 4, 2010 by echostains


Beautiful rafaela just one of my many past posts

I thought that I’d do an update as I haven’t done one since my 550th in June.  I am glad that the experiment in cutting down my blog post by posting every few days doesn’t seem to affected my views.  Posting every day (which I managed for a full year) was getting very time-consuming: life  and Bookstains were suffering!

Hogarth another past post (birthday I think)

What I thought I would do for this post is look at some posts going right back: posts that never really got a proper airing in the early days. 

My Bronte bites (must update these with another trip to Haworth)

My blog has changed completely over the a few years – so much added; so many categories.  The book reviews and poetry have had to be accommodated in Bookstains where I’m  hosting poetical challenges based on paintings.  But just for fun and because I’m feeling nostalgic –  here area tiny minute fractionof my early ‘Yesterdays’  Please feel free to comment:-)

Foundation Stones McGuire

A very early post about Irish artist Brian McGuire and why I love his ‘Foundation Stones paintings

Just a tick – just getting the lay of the land(one of my very first blog posts…….


Euphoria Borealis An early painting (and why)

99 cent pop Gursky

Andreas Gursky Go BIG

Hepworth garden

A Cornish Garden of hidden delights (Barbara Hepworth)

unusual ceramics and teapots have features

Teapots (not done any posts on these for a long time) go all political

PS Theres two more entries in the Weeping Woma poetry challenge (including mine) on Bookstains HERE

‘Happy Birthday Barbara Hepworth!’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2010 by echostains

barbara hepworth in later years

Today is the birthday of probably the  world’s most famous sculptress Barbara Hepworth (b.1903 – 1975 Yorkshire U.K. ).  Hepworth made a significant contribution to the media  of sculpture throughout her career.  Her work defines Modernism.  She was honoured with a Damehood in 1965, 10 years before her death.


Pierced form 1932 pink alabaster sadly destroyed in the War

A contemporary of Henry Moore, her early work was organic in form.  In 1930 her work became more abstract (as opposed to representational) and in 1931 the artist  achieved acclaim in Britain for her piercing of the form in sculpture (Pierced Form 1931, alabaster).  Other sculptors were to follow suit including Moore.  Later her work became more and more hollowed out and punctured. She also explored other mediums to work in beside alabaster and stone – like wood.  She married abstract artist Ben Nicholson (her second husband) in 1932 and moved to their St Ives home after the War. 

hepworth wooden pierced form

Hepworth joined the Unit One group  in 1933 with Henry Moore and Paul Nash.  This is what she wrote in the introduction to her book ‘Unit One’;-

“I do not want to make a stone horse that is trying to and cannot smell the air. How lovely is the horse’s sensitive nose, the dog’s moving ears and deep eyes; but to me these are not stone forms and the love of them and the emotion can only be expressed in more abstract terms. I do not want to make a machine which cannot fulfil its essential purpose; but to make exactly the right relation of masses, a living thing in stone, to express my awareness and thought of these things … In the contemplation of Nature we are perpetually renewed, our sense of mystery and our imagination is kept alive, and rightly understood, it gives us the power to project into a plastic medium some universal or abstract vision of beauty.”

What a wonderful quote that it is: it gives us  an insight to Hepworth’s oeuvre.  The passion  and belief of the artist shows throughout her work.




Barbara Hepworth  died in  a fire at her home in  St Ives, Cornwall in 1975.   This is now a Museum dedicated to the artist.  We went to visit  a while ago and this post has some of the pictures we took.  There is not much to see in the house – not much atmosphere, but the gardens are full of Hepworth.  Her indoor studio, with aprons hanging from the door serve as a poignant reminder of this special artist, whilst the many sculptures in the gardens provide unexpected vistas of delight.  This place is truly beautiful.  Please visit if you are in St Ives, you will not be disappointed!

Barbara Hepworth Museum

I celebrate more artist’s birthdays HERE

A Cornish Garden of Hidden Delights: The Barbara Hepworth Museum, Cornwall

Posted in ART, PAST PLACES with tags , , on May 13, 2009 by echostains

two sculptures converse

two sculptures converse

I came across these photos the other day.  They are from a holiday we had in Cornwall about 3 years ago.  Amongst the many places we visited, was the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St  Ives.  The house has a few Hepworth personal memento’s, but it isn’t as interesting as Hepworths studio or garden .

Hepworth's studio

Hepworth's studio

Everywhere you turn, a sculpture confronts you,  Sometimes they seem to creep up on you and take you unawares!    Each pathway, bush and sculpture provides a vista.  Sometimes these vistas lead to other vistas.  There is so much life out here in the gardens.  The flowers and plants seem in perfect harmony with their neighbours (the sculptures).

amazing forms

amazing forms

Opening up these forms, by piercing them, lets in light and lets the sculpture ‘breathe’.

natures influence

natures influence

Hepworth was influenced by older sculptors like Henri Gaudier Brzeska and Jacob Epstein.  Hepworth took her forms from nature and from Neolithic stones.  If you are in St Ives, it is well worth visiting this lovely place!