15-10-26-2215NE08A Hepworth Two Forms Orkney.jpg
Dame Barbara Hepworth’s Two Forms (Orkney) which was acquired at a Christie’s auction and has now gone on display at The Pier Arts Centre in Orkney. Photograph © Christie's Images Limited 2015

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The diminutive Two Forms (Orkney), a work carved in slate and measuring just 8¼ in (21cm) high (including the laquered wood base) exceeded a £200,000-300,000 estimate at the auction back in June and was knocked down at £460,000 - a strong sum for a work of this size but reflecting the fact that it is unique (most Hepworth sculptures were cast in multiples).

The form of 1967 work alluded to Neolithic monuments of northern Scotland and the Orkney islands, and its purchase now adds a later Hepworth carving to the group of early works by the artist already in the Pier Arts Centre's collection.

The fact that the centre holds the pre-eminent collection of Hepworth's work in Scotland is largely down to its founder Margaret Gardiner. She had met the artist in London in the 1930s and became one of her key early patrons.

Two Forms (Orkney) came to Christie's from a private Swiss collection and was sold to the Centre after pledges of support for the acquisition came from the Art Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund, National Fund for Acquisitions, the Porthmeor Fund, the Henry Moore Foundation and the Friends of the Pier Arts Centre.