Posted by: marymarthatours | May 18, 2014

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden in St. Ives


We’re back from a glorious tour in SW England.  A bit rainy, but most of the time the rain fell while we were on the coach and stopped when we got off to visit a garden.  We saw many, many beautiful gardens, so it’s hard to pick out a favorite.  However, the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden in St. Ives has to be one of those at the top of my list.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, Barbara Hepworth, later Dame Barbara, settled in St. Ives in 1939 with her then-husband artist Ben Nicholson.  Many of Hepworth’s iconic pieces were created at her Trewyn Studio in St. Ives, where she lived and worked after her divorce from Nicholson.  It was there that she, with the help of her friend, the composer Priaulx Rainier, created the small but intense garden space behind the studio.

DSCN6270   DSCN6274  

DSCN6263Before Hepworth died in a studio fire in 1975, she left instructions that the studio should be kept “as closely as possible as it has been in my lifetime”.  The studio and its garden are now maintained by the Tate St. Ives Gallery as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden which opened to the public in 1976.



DSCN6255There is a small gallery of Hepworth works in the upstairs room of the house.  As we looked at the pieces displayed there, Martha asked me, “Which of these do you want to take home with you?”.  The docent on duty overheard her and looked extremely nervous.  Martha quickly explained that it was just a “game” that we play when we see beautiful things.  Here is the piece that I “selected” for my living room:


The garden may be small in size, but it’s packed with a large number of Hepworth’s dramatic sculptures.  A garden path winds through a thick planting of trees and shrubs, so that at each turn you suddenly discover another of Hepworth’s wonderful pieces.  They are large and small, some in stone, others in bronze.  While we were wandering in the garden, Martha asked, “which piece is your favorite?”  That was a toughie – I couldn’t decide between these two:

DSCN6276    DSCN6280

I loved the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden.  My own garden will never be as heavily planted, nor will it contain such magnificent works of art, but the two gardens have one thing in common – they are both small green spaces created to bring beauty, joy and contentment to their owners.

(by Mary)

All photos copyright Mary Wallace, Spring Gardens of Cornwall & Devon Tour, April 2014.





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