( This is a much extended version of a blog first posted in 2011)
Next to the Tate in St Ives is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden. The museum is housed in the Trewyn Studio where Hepworth lived and worked from 1949 until her tragic death in a fire in 1975. The museum contains a range of small sculptures unsuitable for outdoor display, and an interesting and valuable collection of archive materials.
The garden was designed by Hepworth with the assistance of her composer friend Priaulx Rainier, an enthusiastic gardener. Plants, shrubs and trees were chosen for their textural and sculptural qualities. A gravel path links the exhibits and at the same time affords glimpses of other sculptures through the foliage.
The acquisition of Trewyn Studio was important to Hepworth. It enabled her to work outdoors and led to the creation of works on a more monumental scale. Several of the bronzes here benefit from the space available.
Adjacent to the studio are a workshop and summer house which remain largely as Hepworth left them. Outside are uncarved blocks of stone.
It is not a large garden but the sculptor’s presence is inescapable. There is a vibrancy that links us through the works: they are tangible and large, not pictures on a page. There is a feeling of naturalness about the workshop – as if the sculptor has just popped out for a cup of tea. The garden is an oasis of quietude and is respected as such by the many visitors.
Barbara Hepworth was one of the few women artists to achieve international prominence. Here, in this garden, we can understand why.
The first three photos are selected views of the garden. The fourth shows the interior of Hepworth’s workshop.
The next two posts will comprise photos of Hepworth’s sculptures in the garden.
See also Around the Barbara Hepworth Garden
Note. There is a good deal of information on the internet about both the Tate and the Museum. Two particularly interesting sites for Hepworth are a BBC Monitor programme made with the sculptor in 1961 atwww.bbc.co.uk/archive/sculptors/12804.shtml and a tour of the garden on an educational video www.kids.tate.org.uk/games/barbaras_garden