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Theatre Group No. 3

© Bowness. Photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery

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Barbara Hepworth stated that upon viewing this operation she was struck by the 'extraordinary beauty of purpose and coordination' of the surgeons and nurses. She saw this operation as an animated kind of abstract sculpture. The painting depicts an operating theatre scene with gowned medics working on a patient. The patient is covered with a sheet and is on an operating table in the centre of the picture. There is a light source coming from the upper left. The painting is in oil paint and crayon, largely in the dual colours of green and white, with some grey tones. There are textural areas where the crayon has produced a thick, waxy surface. Soft pencil has been used to develop dark tone, especially around the masks.

Manchester Art Gallery





oil & crayon on board


H 34.5 x W 49.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from Messrs Reid and Lefevre, 1948

Work type


Inscription description

s(brc): Barbara Hepworth (brc): 21/12/47


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Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M2 3JL England

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