A rainy day in St Ives.

I once visited the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives with my Mum but it was such a distant memory that now we are living in Cornwall and I have a local’s pass for Tate St Ives that this would be a great little hangout with a toddler in tow – if we could get there walking …

So after a trip around the gallery this summer, we walked over the cobbled streets and took a look around.

Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic.. here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space.

Barbara Hepworth

Trewyn Studios.

Once you’ve gone through the museum you can go straight into the garden (safest bet with a small live wire). It’s not immense but it is well packed with hardy tropical plants which thrive well in the humid conditions in Cornwall, and Barbara’s substantial sculptures. Clearly the sculptural nature of the plants sits well with the sculptures themselves.

Now please bear in mind that with a toddler in tow I’m not stopping to have the opportunity to read the blurb and critically assess each piece (and it’s raining), I’m casting a swift impression and grabbing a few moments to take some photos as it’s really photogenic!

Sculpture Garden and studio.

The garden is a lush green space with a rooftop view and the studio placed towards the top by the house. There’s a simple loop around the garden with planting that creates vistas to enjoy the sculptures which make for a good photo composition. The bronze and stone pieces fit so naturally within this setting.

If you peer into the studio, you can see a large white piece and all Barbara’s tools laid out. This isn’t how they would have been placed while she was working, it’s definitely been lined up to look good as a museum piece to viewers as the placement is far too composed to be a realistic work station, but what is clear is that this was a large space in which to accomplish grand plans.

And grand plans take some money, which Barbara must have amassed some of over her career, I can’t imagine someone without great sales success (or being bankrolled) could have dreamed of getting a 3m or so high bronze sculpture (Four Square, 1966) cast and craned into position anywhere, let alone their garden.

So with the rain now parting we escaped back home – I feel lucky to have this so nearby even though it’s an exhibit that won’t change much over time.