The Child's Hand
Barbara Hepworth, English, 1903 - 1975
British sculptor Barbara Hepworth is better known for abstract works in stone, wood, and bronze than for representational figurative drawings. In 1947 she was invited by a surgeon friend to watch operations at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter, where she was also allowed to sketch; she continued to sketch in other operating theaters in Exeter and London through the early 1950s. Hepworth later wrote that she was fascinated by the way that the human beings involved in an operation-with their unity of purpose, concentration, and coordinated movements-induced spontaneous and beautiful compositions in space that coincided with the kind of articulation and animation she had been seeking in her own abstract sculptures.