Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth DBE
(10 January 1903 – 20 May 1975)
was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. She was one of the few women artists to achieve international prominence. Along with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, Hepworth was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War.
Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest child of Gertrude and Herbert Hepworth. Her father was a civil engineer for the West Riding County Council, who in 1921 became County Surveyor. An upwardly mobile family, and a dominant father determined her to exploit fully her natural talents. She attended Wakefield Girls' High School, where she was awarded music prizes at the age of twelve as noted by Sophie Bowness in "Rhythm of the Stones": Barbara Hepworth and Music and won a scholarship to and studied at the Leeds School of Art from 1920. It was there that she met her fellow student, Henry Moore. They became friends and established a friendly rivalry that lasted professionally for many years. Hepworth was the first to sculpt the pierced figures that are characteristic of works by both. They would lead in the path to modernism in sculpture.
Ever self-conscious as a woman in a man's world, she then won a county scholarship to the Royal College of Art (RCA) and studied there from 1921 until she was awarded the diploma of the Royal College of Art in 1924.