Clothes hanging on a white wooden door
Art,  England,  Lens-Artists,  Travel galleries

Gallery: the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden in St Ives

I have gained very great inspiration from the Cornish land- and seascape, the horizontal line of the sea and the quality of light and colour which reminds me of the Mediterranean light and colour which so excites one’s sense of form; and first and last there is the human figure which in the country becomes a free and moving part of a greater whole. This relationship between figure and landscape is vitally important to me. I cannot feel it in a city.

Barbara Hepworth

The sculptor Barbara Hepworth and her husband, painter Ben Nicholson, came to live in St Ives when World War Two broke out in 1939, as a haven from London. She stayed here for the rest of her life, living and working in Trewyn studios from 1949 until her death in 1975; she died in a fire here at the studio she loved. It was her wish that her home and studio were set up as a museum of her work.

A visit to the studios

Our visit here was a real highlight of a recent short stay in St Ives. Inside the house a series of photos taken over the full period of her time here provide a sense of the artist and her work. There are a few pieces displayed here too; but it is in the garden that the exhibits really come to life, placed just as she wanted them among the plants and flowers. To me their organic forms fit perfectly into this garden landscape.

So I’m sharing a selection of the photos I took there for this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge; Ann-Christine suggests that we pick our own subject, something that we find interesting. I loved exploring these works in this perfect setting and I hope you will too.

Modern sculpture in a garden with a church tower
Glimpse of leaves through hole in sculpture
Glimpse of leaves through hole in sculpture
Modern sculpture in a garden
Seeing a sculpture through a hole in another
Modern sculpture in front of bamboo
Pink rose in front of carved stone
Modern sculpture of baby
Glimpse of trees through hole in sculptureGlimpse of trees through hole in sculpture
Which do you prefer, colour or black and white?

I visited St Ives in 2019


  • Photos by Jez

    Fantastic pics; love the shots through the sculpture 👏 The colour one gets my vote; there was a more ephereal feel to it, not as stark as the black & white 😃

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you so much Jez 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the shots through the sculptures as they’re my favourites too – it was fun to explore the different angles!

  • wetanddustyroads

    Such amazing sculptures! I like the colour version … I normally like your B&W images, but I choose the colour one – maybe I need a bit of colour in my life today 😊.

  • sustainabilitea

    Some lovely photos of fascinating shapes. I prefer the color because although it’s a quiet color, it’s almost black and white but again, a gentle black and white. The other is much more stark.


    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Janet. I think it’s the fact that it’s such a quiet colour, as you so aptly put it, that makes it hard to choose between the two images 😀

  • Oh, the Places We See

    Love the interesting shapes — and the colors. Yes, I love black and white, but when photographing nature, I just can’t get away without capturing the many colors of flowers, leaves, shoots, etc.

  • Simone

    Fascinating! I love the play of the lines and shapes of the sculptures against their background that you captured in your photos Sarah! Very Inspiring! A place I really would like to visit myself and get creative with the camera as well!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Simone 🙂 Yes, I think yo would enjoy a visit here and you’d love St Ives I reckon – somewhere to think about visiting if you ever get over to England!

  • SandyL

    Your photos & framing complement the scupture pieces very well. I think you have overwhelming votes on the third photo. With it’s emphasis on lines and curves B&W is an clear choice.

  • SoyBend

    Those sculptures are beautiful! I think I liked the last in black and white since it shows off the lines and forms. Cool effect with changing it between the two.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the sculptures 🙂 That effect is created with the Image Comparison block on WP, which is fun to play around with!

  • Leya

    Beautiful sculptures – I’d love to visit! Thank you for taking us – and I can’t pick a favourite, but would say B&W is my choice for the last one.

  • Amy

    Beautiful and artistic. All are well captured, the third one is my favorite. Thank you for the tour, Sarah. 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Amy 🙂 We’d had a lot of rain the previous day so the sculpture in that third photo had a small pool of water collected in a hollow, hence the reflection 🙂

  • Tina Schell

    A beautiful post Sarah – it would also have worked perfectly for last week’s geometry challenge! Loved the images you captured through the circular sculpture especially. Re the color vs B&W, they are so close I don’t think one is better or worse than the other but if forced to choose I’d go B&W

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Tina 😀 I hadn’t thought of it but you’re right, this would also have worked for the geometry theme! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the feedback on the B&W image – it seems the jury is out!

  • margaret21

    Oh, it’s easily 20 years since we’ve been here and you’ve captured my memories perfectly. As to colour or b/w in your last shot. In this instance, I don’t know that there’s much to choose.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Margaret – no, I couldn’t decide between B&W or colour either, hence the question! Maybe I should do some more nuanced fiddling, as I think the birch trees seen through the hole look better in B&W but the sculpture and closer trees look better left in colour 😆

  • maristravels

    Your photographs fully complement the magnificent sculptures in the garden and you’ve made me even more convinced that Cornwall should be my first trip when I feel it is safe to travel. A friend and I have been discussing where to go and I think you’ve pointed us in the right direction. I just have to see these sculptures now. As for the last photo, colour for me, but it always is. Unless it’s a stark wintry scene, I always think that colour lifts a photograph, even if it’s only a spot colour.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Mari 🙂 St Ives is lovely and there are some great restaurants as well as the natural attractions and the art – highly recommended for a short break!

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