Dame Barbara Hepworth
'Two Forms (Divided Circle)' 1969

This sculpture belongs to the Hepworth Estate and is currently on loan to Downing College. It is probably a sand-cast bronze with an artificially applied patina and would have been cast from a plaster original that was hand finished by the artist.

Our first examination showed that there was a rather patchy surface on the green vertical faces caused by remnants of an old lacquer that may originally have been applied to preserve the patina colour on the sculpture. The subsequent uneven loss of this lacquer caused the green patina to further develop under the influence of weathering leading to a contrast between protected and unprotected areas.

We treated the sculpture by removing the patches of old lacquer and washing the surface thoroughly. We then applied waxes to the surface to provide protection from weathering and these are replenished with each annual maintenance treatment. The patchy areas were initially retouched with pigments regularly so that they were less visually intrusive. Darker tinted waxes are used on the base to preserve the contrast intended by the artist.

We have maintained this sculpture annually since 2009 and, after several years of treatment involving cleaning and waxing, the patchy areas have now naturally integrated with the surrounding green patina so that the visual appearance is unified and retouching is no longer necessary. 

With thanks to:

Tessa Jackson, sculpture conservator, for her assistance with this maintenance treatment.

Sculpture  conservation restoration  maintenance programmes 


Dame Barbara Hepworth


'Two Forms (Divided Circle)' 1969


Downing College