Hepworth's Family Of Man goes back on show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
A seminal work of art by Wakefield-born Barbara Hepworth has been restored and put back on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Fan-favourite The Family of Man (1970), which has been viewed by around 500,000 people each year at the West Bretton park since 1980, was back in pride of place.
Comprising nine individual bronze sculptures, the piece represents figures in the landscape and was one of the last major works Hepworth completed before her death in 1975.
Conservation work began in July 2016, with surface cleaning and re-patination in order to repair areas of abrasion.
In October, the sculptures were removed to allow for their bases to be restored and for the works to be hot waxed to protect their patina.
The artist’s granddaughter and custodian of the Hepworth Estate, Dr Sophie Bowness, said: ‘The conservation of The Family of Man has been revelatory. Based on newly-developed techniques and a deep knowledge of Hepworth’s practice, the conservators have rediscovered the original patinas, ranging from rich and varied greens and browns to burnished edges.
“Hepworth’s first title for the work was ‘Nine Figures on a Hill’ and she had a great desire to see her works in the landscape to be enjoyed by as wide a public as possible.
“The setting on the hillside at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Hepworth’s birthplace and in the Yorkshire landscape she loved, is surely the ideal one.”