SP0483 : Ancestor I - Barbara Hepworth (1970)

taken 6 years ago, near to Edgbaston, Birmingham, Great Britain

Ancestor I - Barbara Hepworth (1970)
Ancestor I - Barbara Hepworth (1970)
This sculpture, on the campus of the University of Birmingham, is part of Hepworth’s Family of Man group of sculptures. It is 280 cm tall and made from four separate bronze sections, each weighing about half a ton. These sections can be read as the head, torso, hips and legs of a totemic and authoritative figure.

The sculpture recalls the landscape of Cornwall where the artist settled in 1939. There are many ancient stones (menhirs) in the area around St. Ives, which the form of Ancestor I reflects. The bronze is cast from plaster which the artist chipped and rubbed to give it a weathered look - a technique Hepworth called ‘textural calligraphy’. The blue-green paint in the cavities evokes the sea filling the pools and caves along the Cornish coast.

Barbara Hepworth received an honorary degree from the University in 1960 and said of the campus “The site has really captured my imagination…I think Ancestor I would stand up to your architectural styles and remain very dominant.”

On loan to the University from the Trustees of the Hepworth Estate.

Description from the University of Birmingham website: LinkExternal link
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SP0483, 434 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 26 August, 2012   (more nearby)
Saturday, 9 March, 2013
Geographical Context
Public buildings and spaces  Suburb, Urban fringe  Educational sites 
Place (from Tags)
Person (from Tags)
Barbara Hepworth 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 0478 8366 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:27.0527N 1:55.8656W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 04784 83666
View Direction
South-southeast (about 157 degrees)
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Other Tags
Birmingham University  University of Birmingham  Sculpture  Bronze  Public Art  Ancestor I 

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