BARBARA HEPWORTH MUSEUM ~ ST. IVES, CORNWALL

Cornwall 173With it being half term last week and family staying we felt it apt to take a trip out to St. Ives to visit the Tate. But to our visitors’ dismay their long trip from Edinburgh was not going to be rewarded with a visit to the Tate Gallery after all – it was closed for refurbishment and enlargement!  (Scheduled to re-open 21st May 2016.) That was fine though because we all felt greatly compensated with a trip to the Barbara Hepworth gallery and gardens in St. Ives instead … what a happy bunch we were! I had never been before as I had always been so distracted with the Tate and time would always run out. So it was such a delight to actually make it to this wonderful museum based at her gardens and studio in St. Ives – and St. Ives is a treat in itself. Famous for its art community and well known artists who have been attracted by the spectacular light cast across the bay and town.

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But for now I want to share with you some of the great works of art I found at the museum. With a little about Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975). She, Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth, was born into a middle class family in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Her adventure to Cornwall was many years later with the war time evacuation to the sanctuary of St. Ives with her second husband and renowned artist Ben Nicholson. Hepworth had previously been married to artist John Skeaping with whom she had a son. Divorced in 1933. Triplets were born in 1934 and she married Nicholson four years later. Their relationship was not to last and around the 1950’s they were divorced. She was a strong feature of the art activities of St. Ives and helped to establish numerous art events and groups in Cornwall. Her modernist sculptures moved more towards abstraction which still entice the imagination today. Tragically, after a long battle with cancer, she died suddenly in a devastating fire at her home. Her studio and gardens later became a museum to her life and works and continue to give great pleasure to its many visitors every year. It comes with my approval and is a recommended must do on a trip to St. Ives.

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The photographs here were taken by me and represent a taste of all the splendid sculptures to be found at the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Gardens in St. Ives.

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Cornwall 172Cornwall 156And on our way out of the museum I spotted a few none sculpted sculptures made from a few well positioned items and nature in the garden – bare branches in the sunlight and pointed leaves.

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For those of you who have never been to St. Ives it has vast sandy beaches and some great surfing seas. The town is packed full of vibrant browsing shops, cafes, bars and galleries. We popped into one gallery which just so happened to be showing mid-twentieth century art from some of the well known artists residing in Cornwall of that time – I was in heaven!

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One of my daughters was in heaven too having found her favourite meringues piled high in a bakery window – which sold delicious pasties too – all freshly baked on the premises.

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A very delighted Clementine on the harbour beach just after consuming a tasty bake from St. Ives Bakery.

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Everywhere we went I could see shape, colour, art and design in the simplest of forms – seagulls, boats, sand and the sea. It is so understandable why so many artists have been and are still drawn to St. Ives.

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The sea bubbles, the sand glows and the harbour shines in the February sun.

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AI do hope that you make it to St.Ives soon.

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Even though there is so much to see and do here we still managed to enjoy a break with a cappuccino and delicious sticky toffee pudding and ice cream at the Beach Restaurant. Conveniently located on the Wharf with superb panoramic views across the harbour, friendly staff and indulgent puddings – it is certainly worth a stop!

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Diane x