Wakefield school sells its Barbara Hepworth sculptures for £2.3m

TWO SCULPTURES by Dame Barbara Hepworth have been sold by a West Yorkshire school for £2.23m tonight, double the expected price.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 13th June 2016, 7:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:23 pm
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Dame Barbara Hepworth

The proceeds will be used by Wakefield Girls’ High School to provide new bursaries and ‘enhanced opportunities’ for pupils.

But when The Yorkshire Post first revealed plans for the sale, the school was criticised for ‘selling its heritage’.

The sculptures, Forms in Movement (Galliard) of 1956 – a fluid and adventurous sculpture made of bent copper - realised £365,000.

A second piece, Quiet Form, carved in marble in 1973, brought £1.865m.

But the governors at the school defended the decision to sell.

John McLeod, for the Governors of Wakefield Grammar School Foundation, said: “Since it was founded in 1878 WGHS has developed a unique ethos encouraging its students to identify and develop skills and talents that they may not have realised they possessed.

“This is founded on outstanding teaching a spirit of enquiry and willingness to take intellectual risks, just as Hepworth did.

“She was not alone – WGHS alumni have achieved distinction In the arts, in industry and commerce and the professions.

“The governors wish to encourage more girls to take up the opportunities the school continues to offer.

“The sale of these sculptures will help create bursaries that will enable more girls to join the school and benefit from a stimulating, enjoyable and engaging education.”

Earlier the school was accused of “selling its heritage” after it revealed it was selling off two sculptures by former pupil Dame Barbara in a move which was expected to raie £1m.

Former pupils had called for the sale to be halted, and the decision process behind the move to be examined.

Former pupil Wendy Henry, of Ripon, North Yorkshire, said many of the former pupils “are suspicious of the motives behind the decision”.