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Group of Three Magic Stones, 1973

Group of Three Magic Stones 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, in the extension. 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.

Sculpture [BH 5]

Reserve Collection

Silver on ebony base

120 x 370 x 316 mm

About the artist

Hepworth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire. In the early 1920s she was a fellow student of Henry Moore at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art. In 1931 she met Ben Nicholson, who was to become her second husband seven years later. She took part in various group exhibitions in the 1930s, including those of Abstraction-Creation, the Seven & Five Society and Unit One. She contributed to Circle in 1937. Hepworth lived in Cornwall from 1939 until her death, caused by a fire in her studio.