Barbara Hepworth Musuem and Sculpture Garden
Tucked away in the small winding streets of St Ives, is Barbara Hepworth’s house and garden. The front door opens on to a gallery with information about Hepworth’s career. Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson moved to Cornwall with their children at the outbreak of the Second World War.
Hepworth bought the property as a studio and garden from Mr Rewhella of Trewyn House in 1949. ‘Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic’, she wrote ‘Here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space.’
As Hepworth wished, little has changed since the day she died. As you climb upstairs, you feel the essence of her. Her studio is crammed full of half–finished sculptures and pieces of plaster, and from there you walk into the garden which Hepworth designed with advice from the composer Priaulx Rainier.
Most of the bronzes are in the positions Hepworth placed them; this is how sculpture should be seen, as part of its environment and not as a sterile piece in a museum. And on one side of the garden is the summerhouse where Hepworth died having fallen asleep while smoking a cigarette.
It’s as if all of life is contained in one space – from birth to death. And although it’s tiny, it’s easy to spend several hours just sitting and thinking.
There is a lift for wheelchair users but it must be arranged in advance.
The Museum and Sculpture Garden are in the care of Tate.