Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975) British Sculptor & Designer

Square and circles (1969) (signed) 1969
Square and circles (1969) (signed) 1969

Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975) was a British sculptor and designer; born Wakefield, Yorkshire; wife first of artist John Skeaping and second artist Ben Nicholson. 

Education

Between 1919-20, she studied Leeds College of Art; 1920—23, sculpture, Royal College of Art, London. 

1924—26, British School in Italy: carving under Ardini.

Biography

In 1926, she settled in London. Between 1929-39, she lived in Hampstead; from 1931, she worked with Ben Nicholson. 1931—35, was a member of the Seven by Five Society, London. In 1933, she became a member of Abstraction-Création, Paris; 1933-35, was a member of Unit One. In 1937, Hepworth and Nicholson were commissioned by Alastair Morton to design fabric patterns for his Edinburgh Weavers’s Constructive Art range. Edinburgh produced Hep- worth’s Pillar fabric with highly textured yarns which were weft inlaid and cropped on the surface around the motifs. 1939—45, she owned and operated a nursery and market garden in St Ives, Cornwall; designed sets and costumes for a 1951 production of Electra at the Old Vic Theatre and 1954 Michael Tippet’s opera The Midsummer Marriage at the Royal Opera House, both London; from 1939 until her death, lived at St Ive’s.

Recognition

In 1928, work (sculpture with John Skeaping and William Norman) was first shown at Beaux-Arts Gallery, London. From 1933, began showing textiles at Lefevre Gallery, London. Work subject of more than 60 exhibitions including at 1950 Biennale di Venezia and 1930 exhibition, Arthur Tooth and Sons, London; 1932 and 1933 exhibitions (with Nicholson; including eight hand-printed textiles), Lefevre Gallery; 1969 retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London. Work was shown at 1935 Abstraction-Création exhibition, 1934 Unit One exhibition, Mayor Gallery, and travelling; 1936 ‘Art Non-Figuratif’; ‘Abstract and Concrete,’ Oxford; 1937 ‘Abstract Art,’ AIA; ‘Constructive Art,’ London Gallery; (Pillar fabric and sculpture pieces) at 1979-80 ‘Thirties’ exhibition, Hayward Gallery, London. In 1958, she was appointed Commander of the British Empire.

Works at V & A Museum

Barbara Hepworth Limited Edition Prints

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

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  • Vintage Tulips Pillowcase by William Morris

    William Morris Pillow / Cushion

    In contrast to the 19th-century trend towards factory-produced textiles, William Morris (1834-1898), a founder of the British Arts and Crafts movement, strove to revive hand-made crafts’ reputation and technique, including textiles. Read More →

  • George Sheringham (1884 – 1937) British Interior and Textile designer

    George Sheringham Portrait

    He was born in London and had a brother, Hugh, an Angling Editor of The Field. He attended the King’s School, Gloucester, the Slade School of Fine Art (1899–1901), and the Sorbonne, Paris (1904–1906).Read More →

  • Aubrey Beardsley (1872 – 1898) – the dandy of the grotesque

    Aubrey Beardsley featured image

    The impact of Beardsley, considered the greatest illustrator of the Art Noveau period, is due solely to his erotic imagination and marvellous control of line drawing.Read More →

  • Henry Cole (1808 – 1882) British design education leader

    Henry Cole Christmas Card featured image

    Henry Cole was a significant force in 19th-century British design education, emphasising its importance to industry. He was also instrumental in the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the founding of the Journal of Design.Read More →

  • Zandra Rhodes (b.1940) British fashion and textile designer

    Zandra Rhodes featured image

    Zandra Rhodes studied lithography and printing at Medway College before going on to the Royal College of Art to study textiles, graduating in 1964 during the height of the pop movement. She made a paper wedding dress that cost less than two shillings, motivated by this trend and the work of painter Roy Lichtenstein in particular (about 7 new pence). In 1967, paper clothing was all the rage: it was the ultimate representation of disposable apparel.Read More →

  • Jasper Morrison (1959 – ) British Designer quirky, understated furniture

    Jasper Morrison Cork Furniture

    Morrison produced quirky, satiric, understated furniture. His 1986 South Kensington flat was widely published in design magazines. He designed 1988 Door handles I and II, and a 1989 range of aluminium handles produced by FSB in Germany. Read More →

  • British Ceramics, 1675-1825: The Mint Museum (hardcover)

    British Ceramics featured image

    With over two thousand objects, the Mint Museum’s collection of British ceramics is one of the best and most extensive in the United States. It includes items from all major manufacturing centres, including Wedgwood, Chelsea, Worcester, and Staffordshire. Read More →

  • Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery (hardcover)

    Things of Beauty Growing cover artwork

    British potters have revitalized traditional ceramic forms for nearly a century by creating or reinventing techniques, materials, and display methods. Things of Beauty Growing delves into the primary vessel typologies that have defined studio ceramics from the early twentieth century, such as bowls, vases, and chargers. Read More →

  • Moorcroft British (ca. 1913) art pottery manufacturer

    Moorcroft Pottery featured image

    William Moorcroft started Moorcroft, a British art pottery manufacturer, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, in 1913.Read More →

  • Royal Designer for Industry

    Design Sketch featured image

    The British Royal Society of Arts (RSA) established the Royal Designer for Industry designation in 1936 to encourage high-quality industrial design and elevate the reputation of designers. It is given to persons who have demonstrated “consistent excellence in beautiful and efficient industrial design.”Read More →

  • William Blenko (1854 – 1926) and Blenko Glassware

    William John Blenko (1854-1926) was British glassmaker. He completed his apprenticeship in a London bottle factory at the age of 10 and studied French and chemistry at night school. In 1890, he introduced Norman slab-type stained glass for a Norfolk church. Read More →

  • Eric William Ravilious (1903 – 1942) British wood engraver, watercolourist, and ceramics decorator

    Eric Ravilious

    He studied at the Eastbourne School of Art from 1919 to 1922 and at the Royal College of Art in London from 1922 to 1925 under Paul Nash and others.Read More →

  • Laura Ashley (1926 – 1988) British fabric and fashion designer

    Laura Ashley featured image

    Laura Ashley was one of the first British designers to experiment with the concept of lifestyle marketing. Her romantic vision of nineteenth-century rural life, adapted to modern domestic realities, inspired a generation of middle-class Britons who returned to country life in the 1960s and 1970s.Read More →

  • Narrative Architecture (Architectural Design Primer) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

    Narrative Architecture featured image

    Many architects have used the word “narrative” to describe their work since the early 1980s. The enduring appeal of narrative to architects is that it provides a means of interacting with how a city feels and functions. Read More →

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