Leeds & West Yorkshire

Barbara Hepworth's old school gets £2.2m for sculptures

Two works by Barbara Hepworth Image copyright Sotheby's
Image caption Hepworth was born in Wakefield in 1903

Two sculptures by renowned artist Barbara Hepworth have sold for more than £2.2m after being auctioned by her old school.

Quiet Form and Forms in Movement were sold by Wakefield Girls High School at Sotheby's in London.

The school said that proceeds from the sale will be used to help provide new bursaries and "enhanced opportunities for students".

The decision to sell the art had been criticised by some ex-pupils.

One, Dr Carol Atack, said: "When I was at the school the sculptures were on display and a great inspiration to girls.

"I don't think what we are being told adds up."

Dr Atack said she had been contacted by other old girls who were also unhappy the works were being sold.

Sotheby's said Quiet Form, carved in marble in 1973, went for £1,865,000. Forms in Movement, made of bent copper, realised £365,000.

'Benefit of present girls'

Diane Watson, a school governor, said the "unfortunate decision" was taken to sell the sculptures due to rising costs.

"They haven't been displayed for a long period due to the rising value of the insurance cost," she explained.

"All the money from the sale will be used for the benefit of present girls and future students, to fund a bursary."

Hepworth was born in Wakefield in 1903 and a contemporary of Henry Moore, with the pair among the most highly regarded sculptors of the 20th Century.

She attended the school from the age of six and left in 1920, aged 17.

Miss McCroben, the school's headmistress at the time, recognised her talent and encouraged her, said Sotheby's.

She attended Leeds School of Art in the 1920s and opened a studio in St Ives, Cornwall, in 1949.

The artist and sculptor was made a CBE in the 1958 New Year Honours list and made a Dame in 1965. She died in a fire at her studio in 1975.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites