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Barbara Hepworth

Mother and Child

1903 – 1975

Mother and Child
Pink Ancaster stone
Purchased by Wakefield Corporation in 1951 © Bowness. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones

The theme of mother and child was a consistent motif for Hepworth. This version, made a few months before the artist gave birth to triplets, marks a shift in her art towards more abstract forms. It also shows her taking the significant step of separating the child from the body of the mother.

The influential critic Adrian Stokes, with whom Hepworth stayed when she first arrived in St Ives, wrote of a similar work, now lost: ‘This is the child which the mother owns with all her weight, a child that is of the block yet separate, beyond her womb yet of her being.’