CHESTERFIELD.- A major sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth, one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, was unveiled today by the artist's granddaughter following its return home to Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Leading independent charity The Art Fund gave £345,000 to Chesterfield Borough Council to help buy Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall), 1960-62, so that the sculpture could be returned to the town which had been its home for over 40 years.
Rosewall was sold to Chesterfield Borough Council by Royal Mail, the sculptures previous owners, for £500,000. The remainder of the funding to acquire the work - acknowledged as one of the artists finest came from the developers of the Chesterfield Waterside project and developer contributions from the towns Per Cent For Art scheme.
The 2.5 ton sculpture was craned into place yesterday on a newly designed plinth in its original setting on Future Walk in Chesterfield town centre. Rosewall will remain at Future Walk until 2011 when it will be re-sited permanently within Chesterfield Waterside, a new landmark development being built along the Chesterfield canal corridor.
Councillor Ray Russell, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council said "The Council has worked hard to bring this significant piece of art back to the town where it so rightly belongs. We are extremely grateful to The Art Fund, Chesterfield Waterside Partnership and the Per Cent For Art scheme in helping to secure the purchase of the sculpture and look forward to it once again being enjoyed by residents, tourists and art lovers. We also thank Royal Mail Group for making this possible."
Martin Gafsen, Royal Mail Groups Property Director, said: Royal Mail Group is pleased to have helped Chesterfield Borough Council retain Rosewall for the next chapter in its history as part of Chesterfield Waterside.
Rosewall was originally acquired by the Post Office in 1963 to mark the relocation of the Post Office Accountant Generals Department to Chesterfield, and installed outside its then newly-completed office complex.
Barbara Hepworth was closely involved in the original siting of the sculpture, which she had completed the previous year. Although Hepworth is associated most closely with Cornwall, she was originally from West Yorkshire. She attended Leeds School of Art where she met Henry Moore who was to become a close friend, before winning a county scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London. She went on to become one of the most important artists and sculptors of the 20th century and a leading light of the Modernist movement. Her work can be seen in public collections across the country and internationally.
Rosewalls form evolved from the artists experience of sitting atop a hillside of the same name in Cornwall, looking out at the fields below and the sea beyond. It captures both the experience of looking out at the landscape and the shape of the land itself. Hand carved in white Nebrasina stone and over two metres long, Rosewall took Hepworth almost three years to create. There are only a few large scale pieces in hand-worked stone by the artist on public display in the UK.
The Art Fund, an independent charity with over 80,000 members, has given over £1,100,000 in grants to help buy works of art costing over £4 million for museums and galleries in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.