The lady on the left is Barbara Hepworth, one of the most celebrated artists ever to grace the cobbled streets of St Ives.
I can’t believe that in all the years we have been visiting Cornwall we haven’t called in to the wonderful Barbara Hepworth Museum before. Well we put that right last week and it was such a treat I thought you might enjoy having a peek yourselves.
This simple unimposing corner cottage in a St Ives back street gives no hint of the glorious sculpture gardens that lie hidden just behind it.
I can’t claim to understand today’s contemporary art, but there’s a sense of flow and comfort in the circles and swirls, the smooth sweeping curves of the stone and bronze sculptures in this garden.
This is the artist’s studio in the garden. It’s fascinating to know that sculptures such as the 21 ft bronze that graces the piazza in front of the United Nations Building in New York probably started life here, and in the bigger rooms she leased just across the road.
Leafy paths lead the visitor past towering trees and shrubs to discover one striking piece of sculpture after another.
… And then there’s this very much at home chap.
No one knows his name. he just turned up one day and the museum staff didn’t have the heart to evict him, so they feed and care for him instead.
He seemed totally oblivious to the artistic splendour that surrounded him, but then he probably assumes the visitors have all turned out just to see him. And why not?
Barbara married her celebrated artist partner, Ben Nicholson, in 1938 – four years after their triplets were born. Soon after the family moved to Cornwall. Sadly the marriage, which was the second for both of them, was not to last.
Barbara acquired Trewyn Studio in the centre of St Ives in 1949 and immediately began working there, before taking up permanent residence the following year.
Her marriage to Ben was dissolved in 1951.
In 1975 Barbara Hepworth died, aged 72, in a tragic fire in the studio she loved.
I adore the whole artistic ambience of St Ives. Walking along those narrow, cobbled back streets is like stepping back in time. The tiny stone cottages that would originally have been homes to fisher families may now be holiday homes, and there are studios on every corner. But I don’t mind that because the historic heart of St Ives still beats strong.