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Delisting of Epidauros II

The strong artistic and historic significance of Barbara Hepworth’s Epidauros II, an important rounded, pierced bronze sculpture overlooking the sea in her hometown, St. Ives, was recognised when it was listed in 1998. A recent enquiry about the legal status of the sculpture prompted a review of its listing status.

Epidauros II
Barbara Hepworth’s Epidauros II overlooking the sea in St. Ives © Bowness

Although the position for the Epidauros sculpture was carefully considered when it was placed in its present location by Hepworth herself, it was placed there on loan. As such it must be considered a chattel, and not a building in law, and it is therefore ineligible for listing. While no documentation survives from when it was listed, beyond the National Heritage List entry, we think it is most likely the case that the sculpture was listed in the mistaken assumption that it was a permanent fixture.

DCMS has now decided, on the advice of Historic England, to remove the Epidauros sculpture from the National Heritage List for England.

Sophie Bowness on behalf of the Hepworth Estate, said:

“We are absolutely committed to keeping ‘Epidauros’ in the beautiful site overlooking St Ives that Hepworth chose for it in 1973. De-listing will enable us to offer the sculpture to the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu system. If accepted, 'Epidauros' would remain in perpetuity in this historic site."

The delisting does not mean that we think that the sculpture lacks artistic importance, and it of course retains its intrinsic interest. If in the future the ownership situation changes, then it could be reassessed for listing

Sculptures on loan may not be capable of being listed under the 1990 Act. If you are aware of a listed sculpture that is on loan then please bring it to the attention of Historic England by emailing so we can review its listing.

Date: 18 May 2016

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