Gloucestershire

Hepworth sculpture building in Cheltenham listed

Cheltenham House, Clarence Street, Cheltenham Image copyright Google
Image caption The owners of the bronze sculpture wanted to remove the original and replace it with an exact replica

A building's facade containing a Barbara Hepworth sculpture has been given Grade-II listed status.

The work 'Theme and Variations', on Cheltenham House, in Clarence Street, Cheltenham, was the artist's final public commission in 1970.

Its owners had wanted to remove it and replace it with an exact replica.

But Cheltenham Borough Council said the original sculpture was iconic to the town and asked Historic England to give the building listed status.

Hepworth had described the 30ft (9m) long triptych as the "longest" piece she had done.

At the beginning of October, the council issued a Building Preservation Notice to protect it from being removed for up to six months.

The frontage of the building with its "integral" sculpture has now been given listed status by Historic England.

Image caption 'Theme and Variations' in Cheltenham was Hepworth's final public commission

Historic England said the "expressive, dynamic piece" demonstrated Hepworth's "skilful demonstration of the potential for art to enhance the built environment".

Flo Clucas, from the council, said the listing had ensured the sculpture would remain in the town "making a positive contribution to public art within an historic setting".

In 2016, Hepworth's Winged Figure, on London's Oxford Street, and Single Form (Memorial) in Battersea Park, London, were given Grade II* status.

Hepworth was born in Wakefield in 1903 and was one of the most highly regarded British sculptors of the 20th Century, along with Henry Moore.

She attended Leeds School of Art in the 1920s and opened a studio in St Ives, Cornwall, in 1949.

The artist and sculptor was made a CBE in the 1958 New Year Honours list and made a Dame in 1965. She died in a fire at her studio in 1975.

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