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August holidays

Hola! I'm taking an August blogging break. Back in September...

Happy holidays all, whatever you're doing.

Image: Thomson Airways adverstising archive

Buy the contents of this Brighton house next week

Juliette, a very dear friend for many years, is throwing open her front door to sell pretty much everything in her colourful, 1950s-styled house. 

The sale happens over this coming bank holiday weekend. Take a nose around her place, and find out what's prompted her to make such a mad move...

"I've been collecting 1950s homeware, clothing and accessories for more than 20 years," she says. "When my husband was told he was being made redundant last month, we decided to move to France – not that random, as he happens to be French. Two days later, he received a job offer from a company in Madrid. We have no idea where we're going to end up, but the house is already on the market and we’re down-sizing our possessions like crazy in readiness for the move.

"We can’t take everything with us as we’ll be renting in either Spain or France for at least 12 months. We’ve had the space in Brighton to keep collecting, but it’s beyond ridiculous how much stuff we’ve got. I love every piece, but I’d sooner it go to a good home rather than be hidden in a box for a year. Plus, we are considering building a house in France, in which case we’re going to go totally the other way – instead of a 1930s house filled with Mid-Century collectables, we’ll have a sleek, modern cube house and only one room for my ‘mad bits’, as my long-suffering husband calls them. By that he means my vast collection of flamingo ornaments, Sylvac woodland animal vases and china poodles. Those are the pieces I’ll never sell!
"It might seem a bit strange to open your home to complete strangers, but I think it’s a nice way of making sure our much-loved pieces go to a good home, and it’ll be much easier to part with the things I love in person."

Go and help Juliette out by snapping up some of her cherished collectibles. Prices will start from £10 and goodies she's got lined up to sell include everything from poodle bookends and dinner plates to handbags and furniture. Details below.

Barbara Hepworth retrospective – and how to buy her art for £75

I'm a little breathless about yesterday's news that a big Barbara Hepworth retrospective is coming to Tate Britain next year. 

I saw Hepworth's work some years ago, in a show at Tate St Ives (in the town so dear to me): the Tate Britain show promises to be very good indeed, but the Cornish branch was possibly the most spectacular building in which to view her curvaceous, earthy work – and not just because it was the mid-century sculptor's adopted home and workplace.

If you've been to the beach-side gallery, you'll know the central plinth inside the front of the building, beyond which you can see the waves crashing into Porthmeor Beach beyond, sand, sky and water lit up with that unique, luminous St Ives light. Imagine now looking at that view not just through the circle of the windows, but also through the void in the middle of a giant Hepworth artwork. Magical.

The Tate Britain show, opening in Summer 2015, will be the first Hepworth retrospective in London since 1968 and will feature more than 70 works, including rarely exhibited pieces, pre-war carvings that survived the bombing of her studio and the artist's use of photography and film. (Random fact unconnected to Hepworth, but connected to St Ives and the war: my dad was a small boy in the 1940s and, while in St Ives visiting his grandmother, had to hide behind rocks on the little beach next to Tate St Ives as enemy planes flew overhead and shot at him and his father.

I'm digressing wildly. And this isn't just an excuse to publish images of some of my favourite pieces of her work. If you can't wait until 2015 to come to the big smoke and get your fix – did you know that John Lewis is currently selling a collection of beautiful reproduction Barbara Hepworth prints (pictured above and below)?

They're £75 each and are exclusive to John Lewis as part of the celebrations of the store's 150th anniversary.

The artworks were chosen because one of Barbara Hepworth's sculptures, Winged Figure, commissioned by John Lewis and installed in the early 1960s, adorns the exterior of the flagship London branch. You can see and read about the interesting story behind the six-foot sculpture on the excellent My Friend's House blog.

But don't go yet – you can also see some of Hepworth's rarely-seen drawings in this archive post by contributing ed, Abi.

Happy weekend all – and I'm off for a couple of weeks, partly taking little break in the sun and partly obsessing over what DIY chores around the house I can get stuck into. That's just how some people relax. You of all people should understand...

The Barbara Hepworth retrospective takes place at Tate Britain next summer; also part of the Tate's 2015 programme are major exhibitions including Jackson Pollock, Frank Auerbach, Marlene Dumas and Alexander Calder, kinetic sculptor and inventor of the mobile. 

Images: John Lewis, and Hepworth Estate for the photograph of Barbara Hepworth in the Palais studio in 1963 with unfinished wood carving Hollow Form with White Interior, taken by Val Wilmer.

Post by Kate