Hepworth sculpture among art works gifted to the nation

Embargoed to 1945 Tuesday April 2
The Art Fund undated handout photo of the Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire which has be
Embargoed to 1945 Tuesday April 2 The Art Fund undated handout photo of the Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire which has been shortlisted for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year.

Three works by British modernist artists, including a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, have been gifted to the nation.

The artist’s bronze sculpture Orpheus (Maquette 1), will go on display at the Hepworth Wakefield gallery in West Yorkshire in February 2020 alongside a sculpture by Denis Mitchell and a painting by William Scott.

The three works were owned by collector Nancy Balfour, who was chairman and president of the Contemporary Art Society before her death in 1997, and given to the public by her niece, Kate Ashbrook through the Cultural Gifts Scheme, administered by the Arts Council.

Orpheus (Maquette I), 1956 (Studio St Ives/Bowness/PA)

This scheme enables UK taxpayers to donate important works of art and other heritage objects in exchange for a tax reduction based on a set percentage of the value of the item they donate.

The donation of the three works will generate a tax reduction of £124,500.

Hepworth’s piece from 1956 is one of four Orpheus works and an early example of her move from carving predominantly in stone and wood, to her inclusion of bronze and brass.

Stringed and shaped like a parabola, Orpheus (Maquette 1) may be an allusion to the lyre of the mythical musician.

Trevarrack, by Hepworth’s former assistant Mitchell, is a bronze sculpture from 1961, which clearly shows her influence, while Small Cornish Landscape by Scott was painted around 1953.

Scott concentrated mainly on still life so produced relatively few landscapes in Cornwall.

After spending a few months in Cornwall in 1935 and 1936, the artist returned in the early 1950s when he painted the piece.

His landscapes from the time show an increased focus on abstraction, with blocks of colour beginning to overcome any sense of figure.

Simon Wallis, director of the Hepworth Wakefield, said: “We are thrilled that Wakefield’s art collection will receive this generous philanthropic gift.

“These are three major works of art that will find a perfect home for wide public appreciation and benefit at the Hepworth Wakefield.”

Ms Ashbook added: “I am pleased that these striking and important works by British modernist artists have found a permanent home at the Hepworth Wakefield where they will complement the core collection.

“My aunt, Nancy Balfour – a commanding figure in the modern-art world – could have found no better place for them to live.”


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