Fifty years ago, Barbara Hepworth’s ‘Winged Figure’ sculpture was unveiled on the side of the John Lewis building on Oxford Street. Today, it still provides a sense of escape amid the consumer mayhem for the 200 million punters that parade down the shopping thoroughfare each year.
Hepworth said at the time, ‘I think one of our universal dreams is to move in air and water without the resistance of our human legs. I wanted to evoke this sense of freedom. If the Winged Figure in Oxford Street gives people a sense of being airborne in rain and sunlight and nightlight I will be very happy.’
In honour of its 50th birthday, the sculpture has been given a new lease of life after an extensive restoration. And to keep the celebrations rolling, John Lewis is presenting a number of in-store displays.
Archival material has been sourced from the Hepworth Wakefield gallery that includes letters between Hepworth and Sir Bernard Miller – John Lewis’s chairman – who commissioned the work back in 1961.
The original ‘Winged Figure I’ Marquette will be on display for eight weeks in the third floor Brasserie and a pop-up exhibition of graphic prints by Hepworth will give shoppers a rare peek into the making of this London landmark.
Visit the sculpture at John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1A 1EX