Orpheus crop.jpg
This Barbara Hepworth bronze sculpture 'Orpheus' (Maquette 1), dated 1956 will go on display at The Hepworth Wakefield gallery in west Yorkshire.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Sculptures by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) and Denis Mitchell (1912-93) and a painting by William Scott (1913-89) have been acquired for the nation through the scheme, administered by the Arts Council, and have been allocated to the gallery in West Yorkshire.

They had been owned by Nancy Balfour (1911-97) – art collector and a senior editor at The Economist, who was chairman and president of the Contemporary Art Society. They were donated to the public by her niece, Kate Ashbrook.

The acceptance of these three works via the scheme will generate a tax reduction of £124,500.

Striking and important

Ashbrook said: “I am pleased that these striking and important works by British Modernist artists have found a permanent home at The Hepworth Wakefield. My aunt - a commanding figure in the modern-art world - could have found no better place for them to live.’’

The Cultural Gifts Scheme was launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in 2013 to encourage philanthropy for the arts. The Acceptance in Lieu Panel, chaired by Edward Harley, advises ministers on all objects offered under the scheme. Administered by the Arts Council, it enables UK taxpayers to donate important objects to the nation during their lifetime. In return, donors receive a reduction in their income, capital gains or corporation tax liability.

Edward Harley, chairman of the panel said: “Hepworth, Mitchell, and Scott were all pre-eminent British Modernist artists, and it is fitting that their work should go to The Hepworth Wakefield, one of the foremost museums of modern British art in the UK. I hope that this example will encourage others to use the scheme and continue to support our national collections.”

Details of the three pictures are:

Barbara Hepworth’s Orpheus (Maquette 1), dated 1956, is a bronze sculpture on a wooden base. One of four Orpheus works, three of which were editions, this sculpture is an early example of Hepworth’s move from carving predominantly in stone and wood to including bronze and brass among her materials of choice.

Trevarrack by Denis Mitchell is a bronze sculpture dated 1961. Mitchell was Hepworth’s assistant from 1949-59, and his work clearly shows her influence. Moving to St Ives at the age of 18 in 1930, Mitchell became a key figure of the St Ives School.

Small Cornish Landscape by William Scott was painted c.1953. Scott produced relatively few landscapes in Cornwall like this painting, concentrating mostly on still life. After spending a few months in Cornwall from 1935-36, Scott returned in the early 1950s when this picture was made.