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Barbara Hepworth at work on the armature of a sculpture

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barbara Hepworth at work on the armature of a sculpture

by Ida Kar
vintage bromide print, 1961
9 7/8 in. x 10 in. (250 mm x 253 mm)
Purchased, 1999
Photographs Collection
NPG x88502

Sitterback to top

  • Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Sculptor; second wife of Ben Nicholson. Sitter in 30 portraits, Artist of 1 portrait.

Artistback to top

  • Ida Kar (1908-1974), Photographer. Artist associated with 1564 portraits, Sitter in 137 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In the year of Ida Kar's photograph, Hepworth's major retrospective opened at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. It was also the year in which she designed sets and costumes for Sir Michael Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage, which had its first performance at Covent Garden in January the following year.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG x88513: Barbara Hepworth at work on the armature of a sculpture (from same photo shoot)
  • NPG x88517: Barbara Hepworth at work on the armature of a sculpture (from same photo shoot)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 86 Read entry

    Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) studied at Leeds School of Art and at the Royal College of Art, and joined the avant-garde Seven and Five Society in 1931. Ben Nicholson became her second husband in 1938, and with him she moved to St Ives in Cornwall. She achieved international recognition in the post-war period. Ida Kar (1908-74), of Armenian heritage, became known for her portraits of artists and writers. She made her home in London with her husband, the owner of Gallery One, Victor Musgrave. Her portfolio of St Ives artists was published in the 26 July 1961 edition of Tatler & Bystander magazine. Hepworth is seen here at work on the armature of a sculpture in her studio, a former cinema and dance hall.

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1961back to top

Current affairs

Peter Benenson's article The Forgotten Prisoners is published internationally, inspiring the founding of the human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
The philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell is imprisoned for inciting civil disobedience during a sit down demonstration at the Ministry of Defence and Hyde Park.
The farthing coin - used in Britain for the last 7 centuries - ceases to be legal tender.

Art and science

Rudolf Nureyev defects from the USSR fearing that the KGB would arrest him for being gay and for fraternising with foreigners. After seeking asylum in Paris he set up home in London at the Royal Ballet and began his famous partnership with Margot Fonteyn.
The satirical magazine, Private Eye is first published.


The East German government erects the Berlin Wall, ceasing free movement between East and West Berlin. The barrier prevented citizens of Soviet controlled East Germany from crossing the border into West Germany to work, or to defect.
Yuri Gagarin, the soviet cosmonaut, becomes the first man in space orbiting the earth on the 12th April.

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