Tag Archives: Barbara Hepworth Museum

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

A recent break in Cornwall included a day trip to St.Ives which of course (for me at least)  means a visit to the Tate Gallery there.

It was incredibly fast to look around or at least seemed that way because it’s so small compared to the Tate in London.  These images are of the things that immediately come to mind thinking back on my visit to write this post…







The Long Ton by Simon Starling







Simon Starling







Rotunda Reflection



…the reflection picture is really cool to see live!  The middle photo is  the nearest image I could find to one of the Simon Starling works that I really liked and I’m sorry I can’t recall the name of it!

Now I don’t claim to know very much about art but I know what I like.  I can’t even always describe what it is that appeals or moves me in some way but when I feel it I feel it.  Nothing pretentious about how I discuss art in all it’s forms, so don’t expect anything clever from me in this post!

Something I DO know is that I get most pleasure from photography and sculpture.  Especially sculpture.  Always have. So, lucky for me then that my Tate ticket included entry to the Barbara Hepworth museum and gardens!

Having walked round the Tate one and a half times (checking nothing had been overlooked….kind of desperate to find more!) it was off to the Barbara Hepworth museum and gardens to see some sculptures.  I always like to save the best for last so the stroll there was exactly that, taking a route down tiny little streets of tiny little pastel cottages, until eventually reaching the main street which was filled with surfing gear shops, cake shops and of course, Cornish Pasty shops!

On the outside the museum itself just looks like any of the other houses on the cobbled street.  The only noticeable difference being the huge walls surrounding the gardens.

When you walk in, the first room is a history of Barbara’s life, in words and pictures with all sorts of interesting snippets of newspaper articles and old family photographs.  This display is arranged in a timeline of her life with various quotes from Barbara displayed on the walls.   I read every single word. Studied at every single item. It was captivating from the first moment.  Being surrounded by all these photo’s and other items made the whole experience quite intense.  So by the time I got upstairs to where some of her sculptures were on display I was already feeling quite emotional.  Being aware of her life and upbringing and ultimately, her death, doesn’t leave your mind for a second whilst looking at her work.

Although I didn’t know her name the sculptures were very familiar looking to me as I recall seeing them and liking them before….but a long time ago.  There were works in bronze, wood and stone as well as some paintings.

Outside in the garden is where the experience really hits me though.  There are many sculptures, some of which are below, but the bit that got me was seeing the actual studio.  It seems to be exactly as she left it as if she’s just popped out for a pint of milk!  This part really choked me up.  Half finished sculptures dotted about and all the tools she would have used (and maybe did) on display.  So yeah, this part made me cry.  The actual gardens though…beautiful.  Perfect setting for the sculptures and very hard to describe.  I think the best words to describe what I love about her sculptures are probably Barbara’s own…

‘The feminine point of view is a complementary one to the masculine … the woman’s approach presents a different emphasis. I think that women contribute a great deal to this understanding through the visual arts and perhaps especially in sculpture, for there is a whole range of formal perception belonging to feminine experience ‘ – Barbara Hepworth

So….here’s some pictures for what I can’t put into words.



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