Dorothy Hepworth British, 1898-1978

The reclusive painter, Dorothy Hepworth, was the lifelong companion of Patricia Preece, whom she met at the Slade School of Art. Dorothy is on the left in the photograph shown here standing next to Patricia. Hepworth began exhibiting while still a student and graduated from the Slade with first-class honours. With Preece, she set up studio in London, then spent four years with her in Paris studying at the Atelier Colarossi. After  returning to England in 1925 they rented cottages in the west country, and in 1927 settled in Cookham, Berkshire, where she lived with Patricia Preece until she died, even during Preece's bizarre marriage to Stanley Spencer. During her liftetime Hepworth allowed her paintings and drawings to be to be exhibited and sold as the work of her partner Patricia Preece who 'masqueraded' as the artist. Michael Dickens has written, 'The two women not only deceived the Bloomsbury artists, but also other notables in the art world, including Augustus John.' During the 1930s Hepworth's paintings (all signed 'Patricia Preece') were bought by Virginia Woolf, Augustus John and Kenneth Clark and successful exhibitions were staged at the Leger Galleries in London. In a foreword to her 1938 exhibition, Clive Bell wrote: 'Her interest is in the particular, the character of a particular human form or countenance, or inanimate objects generalisation she eschews. She is Nordic rather than Latin, psychological rather than decorative. Certainly in her own way she is a psychologist, and not less certainly - this is what matters - she is a painter.' Latterly, exhibitions of her work have been organised by Michael Dickens at the Bloomsbury Workshop in London.

Please note that The Court Gallery holds a substantial collection of Dorothy Hepworth's work - many more items than are shown on our website. Please contact the gallery for further details.