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Our work of the week is ‘Group of Three Magical Stones’ by Barbara Hepworth. This work is currently on show at Cambridge University Library as part of The Horizon is the Point of No Return: Works by Georgie Grace and from the Kettle’s Yard collection. This work is characteristic of Barbara Hepworth’s interest in compositions based on the repetition of a single form arranged on a rectangular wooden basis. Another example at Kettle’s Yard is Three Personages. Here the three elements are identical, even though they appear different by being set on different facets, hence their ‘magic’.
Although Hepworth was not given to symbolism in her work, the number three has deep-rooted connotations within both Western and Oriental imagery. A more personal association may be that with the triplets born to Hepworth and Ben Nicholson in 1934.