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The postwar years in St Ives, Cornwall saw Hepworth return to carving. She took her inspiration from the landscape around her and her place within it. The wood itself she foraged for or purchased locally. Many of the pieces took inspiration from a particular coastal contour that Hepworth explored in walks from St Ives. Pendour Cove is near the village of Zennor. In Cornish myth it is the scene for a mythical encounter between a young man and a mermaid he charms from the water by singing.

Hepworth, it seems, sought some comparable epiphany in this work, an escape from the realities of 1947. She wanted to feel not a spectator in the landscape but a part of it, as grounded as trees or rocks, and ...