The Family of Man is a set of sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, with a deeply ingrained history at Snape Maltings. A total of nine distinct figures represent the different stages of life: Young Girl, Youth, The Bride, Bridegroom, Parent I, Parent II, Ancestor I, Ancestor II and Ultimate Form. Together they form a family as the title suggests. Snape Maltings is home to three of the sculptures; Parent I, Ancestor I and Ancestor II.

The Family of Man was installed at Snape Maltings in 1976 for the Aldeburgh Festival, it was to be founder Benjamin Britten’s last Festival. Since then, the sculpture has become an iconic part of the landscape.

Originally created in 1970 and cast in 1972, various casts of the works can be found worldwide – the three currently at Snape Maltings have just returned from the Rijksmuseum where they were a part of the first solo Hepworth exhibition in Amsterdam. The only place where all nine sculptures can be found together is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Barbara Hepworth is renowned for creating some of the earliest abstract sculptures produced in England. Not only was she an innovator in the world of art, she was also an inspiration as one of the first female sculptors to conquer a field dominated at the time by men.

You can read more about the relationship between Hepworth, Britten and Pears in this Archive Treasures article.