An Oasis of Creativity – The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives, Cornwall

Places to go (when we can go places) I’m digging out and sprucing up blog posts to bring fantastically inspiring places to all you writers out there. Stay safe.

#3 The Barbara Hepworth Museum

St. Ives is a beautiful town on the North coast of Cornwall, and it’s been the home of many artists for years. Art flows through its winding streets and through its old fishing cottages. In 1993 The Tate even built “The Tate, St. Ives” here. There’s said to be something about the light, and that’s what led sculptor Barbara Hepworth to create her studio in the heart of the town. If you’re looking for peace, quiet, and some fantastic sculptures, the “Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden”, is for you.


As a writer, I look for inspiration everywhere. I often find what’s produced by other creatives, be they artists, musicians, dancers, gardeners and more. I especially love to see where they work. Personally I’d love a studio room where I could write, but also be creative in other ways.

The building where the museum is based used to be Hepworth’s home, studio, and garden, from 1939 until her death in 1975. The rooms hold artefacts from her life and some of her smaller scuptures.

Her studio is located on one side of the garden, and has been left as it was in 1975. With large windows and high ceilings, it makes the most of St. Ives magical light and has a wonderful, open feeling. I can imagine how inspiring it must have been to work there.

I’d known of Hepworth’s work before I came here, but was unaware of the scope of her importance. At a time when it was difficult for female artists to reach the same heights as male ones, she became very well-known and was part of a group of artists who lived in St. Ives during the war.

Many of her sculptures find a perfect home in her oasis-like garden found next to her studio. On a sunny day, the lights falls through the trees, wrapping through and around Hepworth’s work, bringing the pieces to life. These pieces are sharp, then soft, dark, then light. Many include holes and cut outs, allowing you to look though viewing the work from different angles. The plants, flowers, water and even people in the garden all become part of the pieces too.


It was a very tranquil place, hidden just steps from the bustling tow below. It’s the kind of place that inspires in two ways. First, as the base for a story. It could be a magical fantasy land (there were some Alice in Wonderland vibes), or futuristic utopia or alien world. Or perhaps you go closer to home, and imagine what it was like for Hepworth and the other artists, creating and living here, with the destruction of war hanging over them,

It also inspires as a place of creation. I can absolutely understand why Hepworth chose to live and work here. The ability to completely immerse yourself in your work is a dream for pretty much any creative person.

Have you been to the sculpture garden or St. Ives? What did you think? What places do you find inspiring? Please share in the comments

Related reads

Jacek Yerka – Dreams & Imagination
Take a Trip to Zozoville
A Visit to The Charles Dickens Museum, London

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