Dame (Jocelyn) Barbara Hepworth
Other names: Mrs Skeaping
Born 10 January 1903
Died 20 May 1975
Active: 1925 - 1975
Country of birth and death: England
Born Wakefield. She was the daughter of Herbert Raikes Hepworth (1881-1958), civil engineer to the West Riding of Yorkshire. Barbara won a scholarship to Leeds School of Art 1920-21 and then studied at the Royal College of Art between 1921-24. Afterwards she received a travel scholarship to Italy 1924-25, where she met and married John Skeaping 1925. They were divorced in 1931. Her first solo exhibition was at the Beaux Arts Gallery, London 1928. Her work was initially carvings in stone and wood, moving towards total abstraction; her work was cast into bronze from mid-1950s. Member of Seven and Five Society 1931-36, also in Abstraction-Création group and Unit One in 1930s. Moved to St. Ives 1939. First retrospective exhibition in Leeds 1943. Founder-member Penwith Society 1949. 2nd Prize UPP 1953. Grand Prize Sao Paulo Biennal 1959. C.B.E. 1958. D.B.E. 1965. Died in a studio fire, St. Ives, Cornwall.
Commissions include : Contrapuntal forms (later chosen for Harlow public site) and Turning Forms for Festival of Britain 1951; Hatfield Technical College 1951; Theme on Electronics for Mullard House, London 1956; Meridian 1960, State House, Holborn, London, unveiled; Winged Figure 1963 John Lewis, Oxford Street, London.
Exhibitions include : Alex, Reid and Lefevre Gallery, London 1946 (solo); LCC 1948; VB (retrospective) 1950; SB 1951; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1954 (retrospective); LCC 1951, 54, 57, 60, 61; AC 1957, 60, 61; Leeds City Art Gallery 1958; SPB 1959 (Grand Prix).
Collections include: Tate Gallery; British Council; Arts Council; Leeds City Art Galleries; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Further reading: D. Thistlewood, (ed.), Barbara Hepworth Reconsidered, Critical Forum Series Volume III, (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press and Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 1996).
P. Curtis and A.G. Wilkinson, Barbara Hepworth, A Retrospective, Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 14 September – 4 December 1994, (Tate Gallery/Art Gallery of Ontario and tour), (exh. cat.).
A.M. Hammacher, Barbara Hepworth, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1968, revised edition, 1987).
B. Hepworth, Barbara Hepworth – A Pictorial Autobiography, (Bath: Adams and Dart, 1970, revised edition prepared under direction of A. Bowness, Bradford-on-Avon: Moonraker Press,1978, reprinted London: Tate Gallery, 1987).
P. Curtis, Barbara Hepworth, (London : Tate Gallery Publishing, 1998).
M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth, Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St. Ives, (London: Tate Gallery, 1999).
Biography from Whiteley (2001) with additional information from Bowness (2004)
Wealth at death: £2,970,049 0s. 0d.
Probate date: 1975
Dates are usually the year a work was exhibited so may differ from date of production.
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Group I (Concourse) February 4 1951
In serravezza marble
Sculpture with Colour Blue and Red
Exhibitions, Meetings, Awards and other Events
Exhibited at Festival of Britain, London: South Bank Exhibition, 1951
Exhibited at Leeds City Art Gallery, Yorkshire Artists' Exhibition, 1949
Exhibited at Leeds College of Art, 1846-1946 Centenary Exhibition, City Art Gallery, 1946
Exhibited at New Movements in Art (Manchester City Art Gallery), 1942
Exhibited at Platt Hall, Rusholme, Unit One Exhibition, 1934
Exhibited at The Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, The One-Hundred-and-Twenty-Fifth, 1951
Exhibited at London Group Exhibition, 1914-1939
1930 - 1931
Exhibited twice, 4 works and then 3,
Exhibited at Unit One Exhibition (Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea), 1935
26 January 1935 - 23 February 1935
Exhibited at St Ives Society of Artists, 1947
14 October 1947 - 2 November 1947
Exhibited at Festival of Britain, London: Ten Decades, a Review of British Taste, 1851-1951, 1951
Hepworth lent an alabaster work entitled 'Two Forms with Sphere' to the show.
Institutional and Business Connections
Member of Unit One
Member of London Group
Student at Leeds College of Art
1920 - 1921
Studied at Royal College of Art (including National Art Training School)
20 July 1923 (Presumed)
Listed as a graduate from the 'School of Sculpture' in the College's 1923 'Distribution of Diplomas' list. Note that Hilary Cunliffe-Charlesworth suggests that Hepworth was a student from 1921-1925; see ‘The Royal College of Art' (1991), appendix D, p. 595, no source is given.
Catalogue of New Movements in Art, 1942
Cat. Nos. 6, 7, 8, 90, 91, pp. 5, 10
Catalogue of the Leeds College of Art 1846-1946 Centenary Exhibition, 1946
Cat. Nos. 74, 75, 175, pp. 9, 15
Catalogue of the Unit One Exhibition, Platt Hall, Rusholme, Manchester, 1934
Cat. Nos. 14-17, p. 7
Catalogue of the Yorkshire Artists' Exhibition 1949
Cat. No. 237, p. 9
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Alan Bowness, 'Hepworth , Dame (Jocelyn) Barbara (1903-1975)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2007 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31221, accessed 27 May 2008]
Ten Decades a review of British Taste, 1851-1951. A Festival of Britain Exhibition organised by the Institute of Contemporary Art by arrangement with the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1951
Citing this record
'Dame (Jocelyn) Barbara Hepworth', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib6_1211902424, accessed 26 Jan 2015]