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Ascending Form

A famous Hepworth sculpture will move to a new home just yards away from where the renowned sculptor was born.

Trinity Walk shopping centre, in Wakefield, will play host to Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Ascending Form (Gloria) – a first for an outdoor UK shopping centre – as part of a unique partnership with the now world-famous art gallery The Hepworth Wakefield.

Both organisations opened their doors in Wakefield in May 2011 and the gallery has agreed to loan the piece to the shopping centre to celebrate their joint fifth birthdays. The sculpture was gifted to Wakefield in 2010 through the Eric and Jean Cass Gift via the Contemporary Art Society in 2010 and forms part of The Hepworth Wakefield’s ongoing acquisitions programme.

Hepworth was born on the edge of Wakefield city centre on Duke of York Street – just a few minutes’ walk away from where the piece will now sit in the centre, which welcomes around 11million visits a year.

Made in 1958 and is based on two diamond shapes, a larger sitting on top of a smaller, suggesting growth and upward movement. Several critics have interpreted the shape as a pair of hands in prayer, reinforced by Hepworth’s renewed spirituality during the 1950s following the death of her son, Paul, in 1953. This sculpture had special, and specifically religious, significance to Hepworth and she chose a cast of it for the cemetery in St Ives where she was buried.

The sculpture will be unveiled on Wednesday September 28in the centre’s main mall and will stand at around 1.5m high.

Cormac Hamilton, Trinity Walk’s centre manager, said: “We understand Barbara Hepworth was always keen to see her works displayed in the public realm, so there is no better place than in her home city just a few minutes’ walk from the house she was born in. The sculpture will be seen by millions of our shoppers every year and we wanted to do something different, unique and something that helped us bring the city even closer together. By joining forces with an amazing gallery like The Hepworth Wakefield, we can promote more of what the city has to offer – which continues to surprise people when they visit for the first time or after a long period away.”

Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: “As part of celebrating our fifth anniversary this year we are delighted to be working in partnership with Trinity Walk to exhibit an important sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in the heart of Wakefield. Art of this quality enhances public spaces, engages wide audiences and helps to enrich our daily lives. I hope that people will enjoy slowing down to appreciate this sculpture in its new temporary home and feel inspired to learn more at The Hepworth Wakefield about this internationally renowned Wakefield-born artist.”


Photo by Hannah Webster. Image courtesy The Hepworth Wakefield /

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