'Clayton’s book may be unusual in that she avoids the British biographical tradition of combining amateur psychoanalysis with elevated gossip. But it is perfect on its own terms, dissecting Hepworth’s thoughtful writing, the technicalities of her changing sculptural practice, the demands of motherhood and her ambition and seriousness. What emerges most powerfully from Clayton’s study is the importance of female friendships and loyalties in Hepworth’s life'
'Clayton, drawing on a cache of unpublished letters that Hepworth wrote to a small group of her closest female friends, puts the other side of the story. The woman whom you will meet, rather than being the steely Stakhanovite of cliché, is also a mother in post-natal crisis, struggling to care alone for a trio of toddlers, agonising over which was the right course to take. The reader taps into her desperation as, confined to a dingy London flat with her newborns, she cries “for days on end”'
Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times
'This biography’s value and novelty are level-headedness and fine-grained research. Clayton explains rather than exculpates, narrates rather than judges. She sets Hepworth talking through the pages, quoting generously from letters … The book’s illustrations (nearly 200 of them, mostly colour) bring together a lifetime’s vision …The pages glow and thrum with stringed bronze, humped wood and bored stone, with cool white plaster scooped and painted'
'Through both the book and exhibition we gain a sense of Hepworth as a strong, clear-headed figure moving back and forth within a set of influences: her beloved children, her lifelong faith as a Christian Scientist, romantic love, music, her interest in the spiritual realm and her fascination with materials and the natural world'
Hettie Judah, The i