As a long-time Barbara Hepworth worshipper (Female! Abstract! Successful!) this was on the must-see list. Her modest studio and home, tucked away up the hill behind the Tate St Ives, has been preserved much as it was after Hepworth’s death in 1975. The garden is full of her work, but what was most moving was the number of unfinished pieces in her workshop. She died in a fire aged 72, likely from a lighted cigarette left burning while under the influence of painkillers and whiskey – she had cancer of the throat and used whisky to get to sleep.
The house doesn’t feel tragic however – more slightly tidied up. Hepworth had too many ideas for a lifetime, and it shows. The garden, plants and cacti give a glimpse to some of her possible inspirations. I can’t pick one piece as a favourite, there are too many good reasons to visit. If you are here, try to arrive to take the tour, lots of small details that expanded my appreciation her achievements. And then go to the Hepworth Wakefield, 400 miles away in West Yorkshire, (her birthplace) which which holds a large collection of her work. This includes 44 maquettes, working models and drawings which give a comprehensive insight into her creative process.