Dame Barbara Hepworth’s St Ives studio given Grade II listed status

A former cinema and dance hall that later became an important studio of internationally renowned artist Dame Barbara Hepworth has been given listed status.

Hepworth bought the Palais de Danse in St Ives, Cornwall, in 1961, to use as a studio and workshop.

Now, on the 45th anniversary of her death, the studio has received a Grade II listing by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the recommendation of Historic England.

Hepworth carving in the Palais de Danse in 1961
Hepworth carving in the Palais de Danse in 1961 (Rosemary Mathews/Barbara Hepworth Museum/PA)

There she worked on the prototypes for some of her most prestigious public commissions, including the famous Single Form for the UN building in New York.

The property was originally built in the 18th century as a stone cottage, before being used as a navigation school.

In 1910 it was converted into a cinema and in 1925 became a dance hall – known as the Palais de Danse.

Hepworth had moved from London to Carbis Bay with her husband Ben Nicholson in 1939.

With her growing reputation after the war, and demand for more work, she bought Trewyn studio in St Ives in 1949.

This became her home until her death in 1975, and is now the Barbara Hepworth Museum.

After she died on May 20 1975, the Palais de Danse remained in her family and the building was bequeathed to Tate in 2015.

The Tate St Ives art gallery is currently managing the conservation of the building and its contents, with a view to safeguarding Hepworth’s legacy and its future.

Hepworth created the bronze Four-Square (Walk Through) in 1966
Hepworth created the bronze Four-Square (Walk Through) in 1966 (Barbara Hepworth Museum/PA)

Heritage minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Barbara Hepworth is one of the nation’s most highly regarded sculptors of her generation and this listing recognises her long-lasting connection to St Ives.

“It is a fitting tribute, on the 45th anniversary of her death, to preserve the unique site where she created some of her most famous works.”

Rebecca Barrett, from Historic England, added: “We are delighted that the Palais de Danse has been listed in recognition of its importance to the life and work of Dame Barbara Hepworth and to the artistic tradition in St Ives.

“The Palais is a rare survival of a creative space left largely undisturbed since the artist’s death and provides a unique insight into Hepworth’s creative process.

“Listing celebrates the building’s special qualities and ensures any future changes respect them.”

Anne Barlow, director of Tate St Ives, said: “Dame Barbara Hepworth was one of the foremost British artists of the 20th century.

“The Palais de Danse studio in St Ives was at the centre of her artistic life during the 1960s.

“It was also fundamental to the development of the iconic commissions that secured Hepworth’s national and international reputation in her late career.

“The listing of the Palais de Danse not only preserves the traces of Hepworth’s sculptural practice rooted in Cornwall but maintains the legacy of an artist who continues to inspire new audiences across the world today.”

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