The Hepworth Book Club

Sat 24 June, Sat 29 July, Sat 26 Aug, Sat 23 Sept, 11am - 12pm, Free

The archive

Barbara Hepworth's Personal Library

It’s only through living and feeling, reading and feeling, carving and feeling that I believe and have faith.’ Barbara Hepworth, Letter to the writer E. H. Ramsden, 1944

For Hepworth, reading formed a crucial part of a daily creative process that, alongside carving, also included listening to music, writing and dance. She amassed an extensive personal library of books reflecting a broad array of interests, with titles varying from natural history and mathematics, to Christian Science and Zen Buddhism.

A considerable number of the books were given or lent to her by other artists and friends, revealing an important network of creative exchange. Some books relate directly to individual artworks, while others contain notes and annotations, including ideas for titles of works.

This is the first public presentation of the artist’s personal library, displaying a selection of books known to have held a particular significance for Hepworth, curated by Clare Nadal, a collaborative PhD student, funded by the University of Huddersfield.

The Hepworth Book Club


Join Clare Nadal, University of Huddersfield/The Hepworth Wakefield PhD Research Fellow, and guest speakers for a series of monthly discussions. We will read books from Hepworth’s personal library to explore the diverse themes and ideas that influenced her work, from Stravinsky to Rilke.


Curator and researcher Helena Bonett draws out themes of montage, fragmentation and dialogue found in books in Hepworth's library, asking how these creative methods can encourage us to look differently at Hepworth's work.

Helena Bonett is a curator, writer and lecturer undertaking an AHRC-funded collaborative doctorate at the Royal College of Art and Tate on the sculptural legacy of Barbara Hepworth.

SAT 29 JULY, 11AM - Professor Monty Adkins 

Professor Monty Adkins explores the sculpture and music that influenced Barbara Hepworth.

Monty Adkins is a composer, performer, and Professor of Experimental Electronic Music at the University of Huddersfield

SAT 26 AUG, 11AM - Lucy Kent 

Lucy Kent discusses the books on religion and spirituality that Barbara Hepworth had in her personal library.

Lucy Kent completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where her research explored the correlation between new religious movements and modern art in England.  

SAT 23 SEPT, 11AM - Rachel Rose Smith

As part of Wakefield Lit Fest, Rachel Rose Smith will talk about the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and the writings of E. H. Ramsden, found in Hepworth's personal library.

Rachel Rose Smith is a curator, researcher and lecturer based in London. She is currently Assistant Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain.


This series of talks has been supported by University of Huddersfield

Related Exhibition


  • 26 August 2017
  • 23 September 2017