With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights and hidden gems from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: Orkney’s Oval Sculpture

Oval Sculpture was made by Barbara Hepworth in 1943. It is carved from plane wood with the interior painted white. It has been part of the Pier Arts Centre’s permanent collection since the gallery first opened in Stromness in 1979.

Margaret Gardiner, the founder of the Arts Centre, was a great friend of Hepworth, Ben Nicholson (Hepworth’s second husband) and many other artists working in Cornwall at the time. She saw this piece in a London art gallery in 1946 and tells the story (in a publication that marked the launch of the Pier Arts Centre) about how she came to purchase it.

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