Rock Form (Porthcurno)
Artist: Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Dimensions: 243.8cm tall
Accepted by H.M. Governent in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 2013.
Rock Form (Porthcurno) reflects Hepworth’s on-going interest in the relationship between landscape and human interest. The curved edges are punctuated by curvilinear openings, the inner surface of which are smooth and coloured a warm gold, this contrasts with the green patina and rough surfaces of the outer surface. This piece was inspired by the rock forms near Porthcurno, a hamlet close to Land’s End, which Hepworth described ‘with its queer caves pierced by the sea’. This sculpture is part of a sequence of sculptures which explored the relationship between land and sea.
This sculpture and Ascending Form (Gloria), also by Barbara Hepworth, have recently been acquired for the nation by the National Galleries of Scotland as part of the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme. They are on loan to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) through a reciprocal arrangement with the National Galleries. The bronzes have been on display at the Botanics for almost 40 years. They were originally placed on loan to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA) in 1976, when it was sited at Inverleith House, in the centre of the Gardens. The loan was originally made by Hepworth’s estate following her death in 1975. They were officially on loan to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, the body in charge of the Botanic Gardens at the time, and SNGMA were informally associated with their care. When the SNGMA relocated to larger premises, the sculptures remained in the grounds of RBGE, and the loan passed to the Trustees of the Botanic Garden 1986, when the garden became independent of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.