Barbara Hepworth was an English modernist sculptor who achieved international fame for her distinctive artworks. Born in Wakefield in 1903, she attended the Leeds School of Art from 1920. There she met the sculptor Henry Moore and formed a lifelong artistic friendship. In 1921 she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art. During an extended stay in Florence in the early 1920s, Hepworth learned the art of carving marble under the supervision of Giovanni Ardini.
Hepworth’s early creations showed an interest in the abstract, and as a co-founder of the Unit One movement in 1933, she aimed to bring together the influences of abstraction and Surrealism in the British art world. In 1949 Hepworth moved to St Ives in Cornwall with her husband and their children. The following year, her work appeared at the Venice Biennale. Around this time, Hepworth started to incorporate clay and bronze into her works, often using her garden to display them. In 1960 she purchased a large studio space near her home, and used this to create large-scale sculptures. In St Ives there is a museum named after her, as well as one in her native Wakefield. She died in 1975 after a fire at her studios.