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The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, Sept 2021. Photo: Jason Ingram
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The Hepworth Wakefield Garden

The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is open daily and free to enjoy.

The Hepworth Wakefield Garden

The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, designed by internationally acclaimed landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, is a beautifully landscaped garden free for all to enjoy.

As well as Stuart-Smith’s distinctive planting, there are outdoor sculptures by Sir Michael Craig-Martin and Barbara Hepworth.

Tom Stuart-Smith’s design draws inspiration from its unusual setting between 19th-century red-brick mills and a 21st-century art gallery, edged by the River Calder. It echos the striking, angular shapes of the David Chipperfield-designed gallery while harnessing a naturalism that reflects Barbara Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.

Find out about the story of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden here.

Sculpture in the garden

Ascending Form (Gloria), 1958

Barbara Hepworth

Wakefield Permanent Art Collection (The Hepworth Wakefield), Donated by Eric and Jean Cass through the Contemporary Art Society 2010

The two diamond shapes in Ascending Form (Gloria) can be seen as representing natural forms, with the one growing organically out of the other, or as a reference to hands coming together in prayer.

One of her most frequently recurring subjects was the standing form, which she related to the feeling of a human figure in the landscape.

Read more about Barbara Hepworth here.

Pitchfork (Yellow), 2013

Sir Michael Craig-Martin

Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

This 11ft yellow pitchfork stands tall amongst the trees in the garden. It is taken from a series of giant and brightly coloured painted steel sculptures that resemble commonplace objects.

Appearing like drawings in the air, Craig-Martin’s deceptively simple sculptures pose questions about the role that objects play in our everyday lives.

Hear Michael Craig-Martin describe his sculpture in this short film.

Contrapuntal Forms, 1950-1

Barbara Hepworth

Harlow Art Trust: presented by Harlow Development Corporation 1953

Ten feet in height, Contrapuntal Forms was the largest sculpture Hepworth had attempted at the time and marked the first time that she took on permanent assistants. Carved from two monumental blocks of Irish blue limestone, the sculpture shows two separate abstract figures ‘blended into one carved and rhythmic form’ (Barbara Hepworth, 1952).

At the Festival, Contrapuntal Forms was sited near the Dome of Discovery and Skylon on London’s South Bank. When the Festival of Britain closed, the Arts Council presented the sculpture to Harlow New Town in Essex. In common with many of the New Towns, Harlow acquired and commissioned works of contemporary sculpture for its civic spaces. Contrapuntal Forms was transferred to the Glebelands housing estate, where it has remained ever since under the care of Harlow Art Trust.

Day, 1966

Kim Lim

Acquired with the support of the Contemporary Art Society, 1983

This work, Day, by Kim Lim (1936-1997) is made from painted steel and was conceived as an outdoor sculpture. The tall arch not only acts as a sun dial casting shadows to gauge the time of day and year, but its elongated form and curved crest echo the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun. Lim’s interest in an elemental formal and material language draws out associations between the natural world and time.

The acquisition of Day into the Wakefield collection in 1983 was prompted by Lim’s close alignment with the sculptural ethos of Barbara Hepworth, as both artists shared a mutual concern for the relationship between abstraction and the landscape.

In bloom - January

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyushu’

This deciduous shrub has conical creamy flowers in summer, which are composed of tiny fertile flowers and more showy sterile bracts to attract pollinators. The flowerheads dry into a golden colour and shine in the winter sunshine, until we prune them back to a framework just before spring arrives. Paniculate hydrangeas produce their flowers on the season’s new stems.

Malus ‘Evereste’

Rosy, red crab-apples stay on the bare stems of Malus ‘Evereste’ all winter long, providing food for the birds on cold, frosty days. This is an excellent tree for year-round interest, with beautiful blossom in the spring and bright autumn colour too.

Rudbeckia maxima

One of the tallest species of coneflower, Rudbeckia maxima has big yellow daisy flowers in summer, on sturdy, elegant stems. After the petals fall away the seed heads elongate and stand all winter long, bringing a sculptural quality to the planting. We cut them down in February, ready for the new growth to begin again. This perennial likes a moist habitat to grow to its full height and is a favourite with slugs in the springtime, so it is one to keep an eye on.

Nandina domestica

This evergreen shrub has delicate white flowers in the summer which turn into bright red berries. The plant is commonly known as heavenly bamboo, and although not truly a bamboo it has a similar upright character and reaches about 1.5m high. The leaves change colour throughout the year, emerging a ruby-purple and shifting away from green again as the temperatures cool.

Diary of a Cultural Gardener

Between May 2019 and May 2021, Katy documented her work in a monthly diary to offer a little glimpse into life in The Hepworth Wakefield Garden.

View all of Katy’s diary entries here.

Help Katy care for The Hepworth Wakefield Garden

We are raising £10,000 to help our Cultural Gardener, Katy Merrington, look after The Hepworth Wakefield Garden.

As a living composition, the Garden requires daily, labour-intensive care and attention to help it grow and develop. We need your help to ensure the garden is maintained by raising funds to support ongoing costs such as the purchase the necessary quantities of composted bark mulch, replacement plants, new bulbs for next year, and a pallet truck to help Katy move the heavy loads around the garden.

Any gift, no matter the size, makes a real difference. Please join our campaign by donating here.

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