Dame Barbara Hepworth

Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) is one of the best-known British artists of the twentieth century. She was born in Yorkshire, but spent most of her life in St Ives, Cornwall and was a prominent member of the St Ives School. Though concerned with form and abstraction, Hepworth’s art was primarily about relationships: not merely between two forms presented side-by-side, but between the human figure and the landscape, colour and texture, and between people at an individual and social level.

Several critics have interpreted the shape of ‘Ascending Form (Gloria)’ as a pair of hands in prayer, a reading reinforced by Hepworth’s renewed spirituality during this period of her life following the death of her son, Paul, in 1953. She made eight copies of this sculpture and intended one of them as her gravestone. It stands at the entrance to Longstone Cemetery Carbis Bay, Cornwall, where she is buried.