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Art & artists > Our collection > The Hepworth Family Gift >

Barbara Hepworth

Rock Form (Porthcurno)

1903 – 1975

Rock Form (Porthcurno)
Plaster, painted green on the outside and blue/grey on the interior (coloured as bronze), on a wooden base painted grey and coated with plaster
255.8 × 109.5 × 65 cm (with base)
Presented by the artist’s daughters, Rachel Kidd and Sarah Bowness, through the Trustees of the Barbara Hepworth Estate and the Art Fund. Photo: Jonty Wilde


The surface of Rock Form (Porthcurno) would have been built up with layers of plaster, probably applied using flexible steel spatulas on an armature of aluminium mesh. The plaster was finished in November 1964, photographed in its pure white state by Studio St Ives, and immediately sent to the Morris Singer foundry. In the middle of casting the edition, Rock Form (Porthcurno) was exhibited in Turin in 1965. It was also one of the group of plasters that Morris Singer repaired and coloured for the exhibitions mounted when Hepworth was given the Freedom of St Ives in 1968. The exterior of the plaster was coloured as bronze, simulating a green patina, and the contrasting interior was painted with gold paint, also reflecting the gold interior of the bronze. Cobalt blue paint was added over the gold, and this is how the plaster appeared at the Guildhall in 1968.

Hepworth wrote of the group of works of which Rock Form (Porthcurno) and its pair, Sea Form (Atlantic), are a part: ‘These are all sea forms and rock forms, related to Porthcurno on the Land’s End coast with its queer caves pierced by the sea. They were experiences of people – the movement of people in and out is always a part of them.’

In a letter to Margaret McLeod of the British Council in 1964 she wrote, ‘Porthcurno is rather a new shape – dark inside… ’.