Oxford Street – Winged Figure

Seen as you approach the John Lewis department store from the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street in London is this amazing sculpture “Winged Figure” by Barbara Hepworth.

This sculpture was installed in 1963 and was given a Grade II listing in 2016. Six artists competed to have their work displayed following the rebuilding of the old bomb-damaged store. All of the original submissions were rejected. Hepworth had been asked to express “the idea of common ownership and common interests in a partnership of thousands of workers” and in October 1961 Hepworth had proposed a different design, Three Forms in Echelon. Following this rejection she resubmitted Winged Figure.

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The work is 5.8 metres (19 ft) high and resembles a boat’s hull, with two wide asymmetric wings like blades rising from a small plinth, curving towards each other and linked to each other by a series of radial rods like strings that almost cross at a single point in the middle of the sculpture. It was refurbished in 2013 for its’ 50th anniversary.

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