Hepworth was born in Yorkshire. She studied at the Royal College of Art, London, where Henry Moore was a fellow student. Her work of the early 1930s in both stone and wood was completely abstract. Unlike Moore, her abstractions were not based on nature. In 1939 Hepworth moved to St Ives, Cornwall with husband Ben Nicholson and lived there for the rest of her life. Figurative references were reintroduced in to her work from the late 1940s, and from the 1950s onwards she worked predominantly in bronze. She died in a fire at her studio, which is now a museum dedicated to her work.