Essex auction room sells Barbara Hepworth sculpture for �250,000

A DAME Barbara Hepworth sculpture has sold at auction in Stansted for �250,000 – four times its original estimate.

The piece, entitled ‘Two Rotating Forms, Number 2’ stands at just 12 inches high, is dated 1966, and is made of alabaster on a wood base.

Fine art auctioneers Sworders, based in Stansted Mountfitchet, had given the work an estimate of �60,000 to �80,000, prior to its specialist 20th century art sale on Tuesday (January 10) - the 109th anniversary of the artist’s birth.

Sworders’ managing director Guy Schooling said: “This is an exceptional price achieved for a significant piece of 20th century art.

“The result demonstrates just what regional auctioneers can achieve with a combination of diligent research, careful marketing and quality brochure production.

“In short, it shows that if you want to sell art for top prices, there’s no need to go to London.”

Barbara Hepworth, whose work is exhibited across the world, is widely regarded as one of the most important 20th century British sculptors. Her studio in Cornwall is now part of Tate St Ives, and The Hepworth gallery, featuring a selection of her work, opened last year in the town of her birth, Wakefield in Yorkshire.

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Only last month, one of Dame Barbara’s bronze sculptures was stolen by suspected metal thieves from a park in Dulwich, South London. The piece was insured for �500,000.

Locally, one of her statues was given to Harlow on the opening of the new town after its display at the Festival of Britain in 1951. The work is on display in the Glebelands Estate and is Grade II listed.