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Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall)

A Grade II Listed Building in St Leonard's, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2347 / 53°14'4"N

Longitude: -1.433 / 1°25'58"W

OS Eastings: 437942

OS Northings: 371000

OS Grid: SK379710

Mapcode National: GBR 697.BHG

Mapcode Global: WHDF8.YYSL

Entry Name: Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall)

Listing Date: 19 January 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1431380

Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40

County: Derbyshire

District: Chesterfield

Civil Parish: Non Civil Parish

District Council Ward: St Leonard's

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Chesterfield St Mary and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby

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Summary

Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall), sculpture, 1960-62, by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75).

Description

Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall), sculpture, 1960-62, by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75).

MATERIALS: Carved of Nebrasina stone, a hard limestone. Standing on a rectangular plinth, and set in a shallow tiled rectangular-plan pool (both constructed in 2009 and excluded from the listing).

DESCRIPTION: Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall) was carved by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) between 1960 and 1962. The artwork was purchased by the Ministry of Public Building and Works in 1963 for decentralised postal service offices in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and was originally sited on a stepped plinth in a rectangular pool in the piazza north of Chetwynd House (demolished in 1999). The abstract sculpture takes the form of two interlocking curved forms, with twin apertures which are roughly oval in shape. The sculpture is sharply carved on its front elevation (facing east), and is shaped but not carved in detail on its rear elevation (facing west). The sculpture measures 900mm in height, 2300mm in width and 600mm in depth. It is exhibited on the west side of Future Walk, a public walking route created c2000, which links Queen’s Park in the south (registered at Grade II), with the civic centre to the north, which includes Chesterfield Courthouse, a war memorial and Chesterfield Town Hall (all listed at Grade II).

Rosewall stands on a rectangular plinth*, in the south-west corner of a shallow rectangular-plan pool* (both executed in 2009). The pool is located approximately 45m south-west of the site of the original pool, and approximately 15 metres south of Chesterfield General Post Office.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), is declared that the plinth and the pool are not of special architectural or historic interest.

History

The period after 1945 saw a shift from commemorative sculpture and architectural enrichment to the idea of public sculpture as a primarily aesthetic contribution to the public realm. Sculpture was commissioned for new housing, schools, universities and civic set pieces, with the counties of Hertfordshire, London and Leicestershire leading the way in public patronage. Thus public sculpture could be an emblem of civic renewal and social progress. By the late C20 however, patronage was more diverse and included corporate commissions and Arts Council-funded community art. The ideology of enhancing the public realm through art continued, but with divergent means and motivation.

Visual languages ranged from the abstraction of Victor Pasmore and Phillip King to the figurative approach of Elisabeth Frink and Peter Laszlo Peri, via those such as Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth who bridged the abstract/representational divide. The post-war decades are characterised by the exploitation of new – often industrial – materials and techniques including new welding and casting techniques, plastics and concrete , while kinetic sculpture and ‘ready mades’ (using found objects) demonstrate an interest in composite forms.

Dame (Jocelyn) Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, the daughter of a civil engineer. She entered Leeds School of Art in 1919, where she met and became friends with Henry Moore. Hepworth studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London from 1921 to 1924 alongside Moore, and was awarded a diploma in 1923. In 1924 she won a scholarship for one year’s study abroad and went to Italy with sculptor John Skeaping, who she married in 1925 (their marriage dissolved in 1933). In Italy Hepworth learned to carve stone, a skill not taught at the Royal College of Art, being then considered stonemason’s work. She had her first major exhibition in 1928 at the Beaux Arts Gallery, Hampstead (with Skeaping), and her work there consisted of stone carvings of figures and animals.

During the early 1930s she simplified her forms to the point of complete abstraction, a process encouraged by her association with Ben Nicholson, who was later to become her second husband in 1938 (their marriage dissolved in 1951). The couple visited Paris and were in touch with the international avant-garde, both becoming members of the English Seven-and-Five Society and Unit One. In 1939 they moved to St Ives, Cornwall where Hepworth stayed for the rest of her life, the Cornish landscape deeply influencing her abstract forms. She became deeply impressed with what she called ‘the Pagan landscape’ around Land’s End and her concern with figures in the landscape was asserted more fully. She observed closely the way standing stones and dolmens possessed strong sculptural qualities as well as the spiritual presence and character of a figure. Hepworth enjoyed stone carving, and did not start working with bronze until 1956. Hepworth received eight commissions for public sculptures, and her most prestigious commission was Single Form (unveiled 1964) for the United Nations building in New York. A great number of sculptures by Hepworth have been sited in public places, almost all of which are editioned bronzes.

Hepworth was recognised as being an influential sculptor of international renown during her own lifetime, representing Britain at the 25th Venice Biennale in 1950 and winning first prize at the São Paulo Bienal in 1959. Hepworth was appointed CBE in 1958 and DBE in 1965, and received a number of honorary university degrees between 1960 and 1971. Her work has been the subject of a number of retrospective exhibitions, including those at the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Holland in 1965, the Tate in 1969 and 2015; Marlborough Fine Arts in 1970; Exeter University campus in 1973; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1979-80. Hepworth perished in an accidental fire at her Trewyn Studio in St Ives in 1975, and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden was opened at her studio by her family in 1976, following the wishes expressed in her will. The museum has been owned and managed by the Tate since 1980.

Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall) was purchased by the Ministry of Public Building and Works for the newly decentralised Accountant General’s Department and Chetwynd House in Chesterfield, constructed between 1960 and 1963. Hepworth took a great interest in the siting of the work, though she never visited Chesterfield. She created a miniature model of Rosewall in alabaster in c1962-3 to assist with the siting of the sculpture, which was installed in 1963 on a stepped plinth in a rectangular pool in the piazza north of Chetwynd House. Hepworth welcomed this location for her work, telling the Ministry’s chief architect, ‘Most of my larger works have been done with the hope and imagination that they might be placed in such situations in close contact with people out of doors.’

Hepworth wrote two short texts on Rosewall at the request of Sir Kenneth Anderson of the General Post Office, which clearly state the influence of the Cornish landscape on her work: ‘Rosewall is a hill outside St Ives, crowned by an outcrop of granite rocks worn by time and weather and from the summit of this ancient site one can gaze upon a most noble land and sea-scape… [Rosewall] was conceived at the top of this hill and is a fusion of ideas – a composition of forms which express, for me, both the inward and outward perceptions in a new image. The stone is myself, gazing outward as countless thousands of people must have done during centuries in this place. The stone itself gazes out in awareness.’ A documentary film on the artist made in 1961 records her climbing to the summit of Rosewall, sketching the landscape and later starting work on this sculpture. A photograph in the same year records Hepworth standing in front of the incomplete sculpture at her Trewyn Studio. Rosewall was shown in Hepworth’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1962, before it was installed in Chesterfield in 1963.

Following the demolition of Chetwynd House in 1999 the sculpture was relocated to Future Walk, and was removed for temporary exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 2003 to 2006 (approximately). It was anticipated that the sculpture would return to Future Walk following the exhibition, but in 2005 Royal Mail announced their intention to sell Rosewall on the open market. Chesterfield Borough Council purchased the sculpture from Royal Mail in 2009 with financial assistance from a number of sources including the Art Fund, Chesterfield Waterside Partnership, and Chesterfield Borough Council’s Percent for Art scheme. Rosewall was reinstalled on Future Walk in April 2009, and is exhibited on a plinth in a rectangular pool (both constructed in 2009).

Reasons for Listing

Curved Reclining Form (Rosewall), 1960-2, by Dame Barbara Hepworth, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: an important work by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75), a British sculptor of international acclaim;
* Artistic interest: a sculpture of high artistic and aesthetic quality, which effectively communicates the inspiration Hepworth drew from the Cornish landscape;
* Contribution to the public realm: an example of the pioneering purchase of artworks by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works for exhibition in the public realm in the post-war era.

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