The Limit

Rosemary Hill

  • Christopher Wood: An English Painter by Richard Ingleby
    Allison and Busby, 295 pp, £25.00, May 1995, ISBN 0 85031 849 1
  • Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms by Sally Festing
    Viking, 343 pp, £20.00, May 1995, ISBN 0 670 84203 6

The lives of Christopher Wood and Barbara Hepworth are case-studies, each in its way unhappy, of the artist as a product of his own creation. For both the idea of art, the lure of fame, the wish to escape from the stolid Northern middle class into which they were born, were motivating forces as powerful as the desire to express a vision through painting or sculpture. Hepworth was born in 1903, the daughter of a Wakefield surveyor. Wood, the older by two years, was the son of a doctor in Huyton, outside Liverpool. From these remarkably similar starting-points they set off in pursuit of the same, ultimately elusive, ideal.

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