Barbara Hepworth Facts

Here are some facts about Barbara Hepworth, the famous British sculptor and artist.

  • Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, UK, in 1903.
  • She met Henry Moore at the Leeds School of Art in the early 1920s. They became good friends and through their artwork helped to promote modernism in sculpture.
  • Barbara also won a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in London.
  • In 1924, Hepworth travelled to Florence, Italy with the sculptor John Skeaping. They got married in 1925.
  • She studied under the master sculptor, Giovanni Ardini, and learned to carve marble.
  • In 1933, she travelled to France, met Piet Mondrian and Georges Braque, and visited the studio of Pablo Picasso.
  • In 1938, following the breakdown of her first marriage, she married abstract painter, Ben Nicholson.
  • She moved to St Ives in Cornwall in 1939, and lived here for the rest of her life. She founded the Penwith Society of Arts and lived in Trewyn Studios.
  • In 1960, Barbara Hepworth bought the Palais de Danse (a cinema building) and converted it into a large-scale studio.
  • She died in a fire at her studios in 1975. She was 72.
  • Hepworth produced sculptures in brass, bronze, stone and wood, and she also produced a series of prints and some pencil and oil pieces.
  • In 2015 Tate Britain staged a big London show of Hepworth’s work, including more than 70 pieces of her artwork.
  • Some of her famous works included: Pierced Form (1932), Mother and Child (1934), Pelagos (1946), Squares and Two Circles (1963) and Curved Forms (1956).
  • Some of Barbara’s earliest memories involved family car journies through the countryside. She was intrigued by the shapes formed by the hills and fields and roads.
  • Her earliest work is often described as naturalistic with simplified features, whereas most of her work from 1930 was abstract.

Keith Haring Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the American Pop-Artist, Keith Haring.

  • Keith Haring was born in Pennsylvania, USA in 1990.
  • His father was a keen cartoonist and Keith became interested in art at a very young age.
  • Some of his early influences included: Walt Disney cartoons, Dr Seuss, Charles Schultz and the animated characters in The Bugs Bunny Show.
  • When he was a teenager, Keith Haring hitchhiked across America selling T-shirts decorated with his own designs.
  • He was inspired by The Art Spirit – a book by Robert Henri.
  • He worked as a maintenance man at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. this gave him a chance to explore artwork by Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey and Jean Dubuffet.
  • He was also inspired by the work of Pierre Alechinsky, and this made him think about combining writing and characters to form large images.
  • In 1978 he studied painting at New York’s School of Visual Arts.
  • He enjoyed drawing in chalk on unused advertising boards at subways and stations.
  • He went on to organise exhibitions at Club 57, and his work started to incorporate symbols (including barking dogs, hearts and flying saucers).
  • He created more than 50 public works of art between 1982 and 1989.
  • His work featured as the background for the Philidelphia Live Aid stage, and he collaborated with the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
  • In 1986 he opened Pop Shop, selling his work to the public at reasonable prices.
  • In 1988 Keith Haring was diagnosed with AIDS, and he died in 1990 at the age of 31.
  • During his life, he formed friendships with many celebrities including: Madonna, Will Smith, Yoko Ono and Grace Jones. He was also very close to Andy Warhol.
  • His work was bold, bright and was heavily influenced by Pop Art and graffiti and street art.

Romero Britto: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the artist Romero Britto.

  • Romero Britto is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, and his work is influenced by pop art, cubism and street art.
  • His work often includes bold patterns, bright colours, playful themes and hard-edged compositions.
  • Romero was born in 1963 in Recife, Brazil.
  • In 1983 he left Brazil to go to Paris, France, and he discovered the works of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
  • In 1988 he was selected (along with Andy Warhol and Keith Haring) for Absolut Vodka’s artist showcase.
  • In 1989 he moved to Miami, Florida, USA and set up a studio in Coconut Grove.
  • His work is on display in dozens of countries all over the world, including: United States, Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Brazil and England.
  • Britto is self-taught, and when he was a child he used to paint on any scraps of paper or cardboard he could get his hands on, often trying to recreate the work of Toulouse Lautrec.
  • He has collaborated with many brands, including: Audi, Bentley, Disney, Evian, Mattel, Coca-Cola and FIFA.
  • Romero Britto has illustrated several children’s books.
  • He supports more than 250 charitable causes.
  • He is one of the most licensed artists in history. His work is everywhere!
  • Britto has completed portraits for Elton John, Michael Jackson, Muhammed Ali and Queen Elizabeth.

Charles Goodyear: Facts About the Famous Inventor

Here are some facts about Charles Goodyear

  • Charles Goodyear is best known for developing vulcanized rubber. The vulcanization process hardens rubber, making it suitable material to use for tyres.
  • The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was named after him.
  • He was born in 1800, in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and he died in 1860 in New York.
  • He sold his furniture to fund his experiments with India rubber. He was desperately looking for a way to make the rubber lose its stickiness.
  • He discovered that rubber dipped in nitric acid helped to keep the rubber hard, and Andrew Jackson (the 7th President of the United States) was so impressed he wrote to Goodyear to congratulate him.
  • He was once nearly suffocated in his lab by poisonous gases.
  • In 1839, Goodyear discovered that combining rubber and sulfur, and heating the mixture would cause the rubber to vulcanize. During the 1840s he continued to work on the process.
  • In 1852, a court case took place to see whether Thomas Hancock had come up with the process of vulcanization independently in Britain, or whether he’d copied Goodyear. It was decided that both men had invented the process.
  • In 1976 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • He married Clarissa Beecher in 1824, and they had five children.
  • Before he began to experiment with rubber, he was a partner in a button-making and agricultural implement manufacturing business.
  • The Charles Goodyear Medal is awarded to those who are most innovative in the rubber industry.
  • He is buried in Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.

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Alfred Nobel: Facts About the Famous Scientist and Inventor

Here are some facts about Alfred Nobel.

  • Alfred Nobel was a Swedish businessman, chemist and inventor. He is known today for leaving much of his fortune to establish the annual Nobel Prize system.

  • Nobel was born in Sweden in 1833. He went to school in Sweden and France and became fluent in several European languages – French, English, Russian and German, as well as Swedish.
  • Alfred Nobel invented gelignite, an explosive, in 1874, and then invented dynamite two years later. His brother had died in a nitroglycerin explosion in the family’s factory a few years earlier.
  • When Nobel’s brother died, several papers mistakenly reported that Albert had died. He was upset to read himself described as a merchant of death, a reference to his work with explosives.
  • He went on to work in his father’s factory. The factory produced armaments for the Crimean War, and the Nobel family also became wealthy by developing oilfields in the Caspian Sea.
  • During his life, Nobel opened 90 arms factories and patented 350 of his inventions and discoveries. He is credited with inventing the detonator, gas meters, and ballistite, used to propel rockets.

Alfred Nobel

  • Nobel led a lonely life, and had a fear of being buried alive. He wrote several novels, poetry and a play called Nemesis, which in 2005, was staged at a theatre in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Alfred Nobel died of a heart attack in Italy, in 1891. He died a rich man and in his will he set aside most of his fortune to fund the Nobel Prize system.
  • A monument in St. Petersburg, Russia was dedicated in 1991 to celebrate 90 years since the first Nobel Prize was awarded. The synthetic element Nobelium was named after him in 1966.
  • The Nobel Prize comprises a medal, diploma and cash sum. Over 550 prizes have been awarded, the youngest recipient being Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai in 2014, aged 17.

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Alessandro Volta: Facts About the Famous Scientist

Here are some facts about Alessandro Volta.

  • Alessandro Volta was an Italian chemist and physicist. He discovered the gas methane, and is regarded as the inventor of the battery and the unit of measurement, the Volt.

  • He was born in Como, Italy in 1745. While at school, he learned Latin, French, English and German, all of which helped him to communicate later in his career with other European scientists.
  • Volta’s family wanted him to become a lawyer. However, he became a physics teacher at a local school and helped to invent a device that produced static electricity, called an electrophorus.
  • In 1778, Alessandro Volta was given the post of Head of Experimental Physics at the University of Pavia in Italy. He kept this important position for the next 40 years.
  • In 1791, Volta was voted a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. A few years later he was awarded the Society’s top prize for his contributions to the science of electricity.
  • In 1800, Volta invented a basic type of battery – the first of its kind. This invention led to the discovery of new chemical elements, and the development of the first electric motor.

Alessandro Volta

  • Volta worked closely with an Italian biologist, Luigi Galvani. The two experimented with conducting electricity through the legs of dead frogs, which led to Mary Shelley writing the famous book Frankenstein.
  • During his life, Volta travelled all over Europe meeting other scientists. The French emperor Napoleon was so impressed with his work that he made him a Count.
  • Alessandro Volta died in Italy in 1827. He is remembered with a memorial and a small museum near Lake Como, which displays some of his scientific equipment and experiments.
  • The electrical unit of a Volt was named for Alessandro Volta. He also gave his name to the term photovoltaic, meaning the conversion of light into electricity.

Karl Benz: Facts About the Car Designer and Inventor

Here are some facts about Karl Benz.

  • Karl Benz was a German car designer and engine designer. He is considered to be the designer of the first motor vehicle to be powered by an internal combustion engine.

  • Benz was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1844 and originally wanted to be a locksmith. He studied electrical engineering at university, and then worked in iron construction and as a draftsman.
  • As a young man, Karl Benz enjoyed riding his bicycle. While riding, he thought about how practical it would be to have a machine that was able to power itself.
  • In the 1870s, Benz established a metal working factory in Mannheim, Germany. He began to build different parts for an engine driven vehicle, and the world’s first car was built in 1885.
  • Benz’s first car was called the Benz Patent Motorwagen. The motorized tricycle had no gears, and was difficult to control, crashing into a wall while being demonstrated.

Karl Benz

  • His wife secretly tested the new car by driving it a distance of 106 km to her mother’s house. Today, every two years an antique car race is held along that same stretch of road.
  • In 1894, Benz made the Velo, the world’s first production car. It took part in the world’s first car race in France, with an average speed of just over 12 kilometres per hour.
  • Karl Benz designed the world’s first lorry in 1895. A year later, he introduced a revolutionary flat engine design, a design still used by car manufacturers such as Porsche.

Old Benz Cars

  • By the 1920s, the Benz car company was competing with its biggest rival, Daimler. The depression led to the two companies merging into one company called Daimler-Benz.
  • Karl Benz died in 1929, aged 84. His last home was designated a historic landmark and is still used today as a meeting place for a charity that honours his memory.

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Marie Curie: Facts About the Famous Scientist

Here are some facts about Marie Curie.

  • Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and is best known for her important research on radioactivity.

  • She was born in Poland in 1867, and studied science in Warsaw and Paris. She tutored in the evenings to earn extra money, but sometimes she didn’t earn enough money. Apparently, she once fainted from hunger.
  • Marie married Pierre Curie, a physics and chemistry teacher, in 1895. During the late 1890s, much of Marie’s research was carried out in a converted shed next to a college in Paris.
  • In 1898, Marie Curie and her husband discovered the element radium. The Curies discovered that radium could be used to destroy diseased cells in the body.
  • Curie and her husband succeeded in isolating radium as an element in 1904. She also invented the word ‘radioactive’ and devised an international measurement for radioactive emissions.

Marie Curie

  • During World War I, Marie Curie established France’s first military radiology centre. She treated over a million wounded soldiers with portable X-rays, and was made director of radiology at the Red Cross.
  • During her lifetime, Curie didn’t know how dangerous radiation exposure was. She often had radioactive materials in her home or laboratory, and even used a sample as a nightlight.
  • Curie died in 1934, from complications caused by prolonged exposure to radiation. Her remains are in the Pantheon in Paris, along with her husband’s, and she is one of the few women to be buried there.


  • Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 and in chemistry in 1911. Several scientific institutions and schools are named after her, as well as a nuclear reactor and a Paris metro station.
  • In 1944, the 96th element on the periodic table was discovered, and named Curium.
  • Marie Curie has been voted the most inspirational woman in the scientific world.

James Dyson: Facts and Information About the British Inventor

Here are some facts about James Dyson.

  • James Dyson is a British designer and inventor. He founded the Dyson Company and is best known for devising and promoting the Dyson Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner.

  • Dyson was born in Cromer, Norfolk in 1947. He was good at long distance running while at school, and at college he studied furniture, interior design and engineering.
  • In 1970, he designed the Sea Truck, a type of high speed amphibious landing vehicle. The innovative design won a Design Council Award and was featured on the popular television programme, Tomorrow’s World.
  • Dyson experimented with a bagless vacuum cleaner design during the 1970s. He also devised the idea of using a ball instead of wheels, allowing the machine to turn more easily.

James Dyson

  • In 2000, Dyson designed a washing machine, although it wasn’t successful. He also came up with his Dyson Airblade hand dryer which today is a common sight in many public bathrooms.
  • In 2002, Dyson designed a water sculpture which was displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show. It is an optical illusion, in which several streams of water appear to be flowing uphill.
  • James Dyson is a strong supporter of a single European currency. Dyson also publicly encouraged Great Britain to leave the European Union before the vote in 2016.

  • James Dyson owns three homes in Gloucestershire, Chelsea in London, and the South of France. He also owns a 91 metre long yacht, one of the largest in Britain.
  • In 1998, Dyson was awarded the CBE medal. He has received several other awards including a 2016 Order of Merit for achievements in industrial design, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015.
  • The James Dyson Foundation was set up in 2002 to encourage education in design and engineering. An award is given every year to recognize a graduate in engineering or design.

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Samuel Morse: Facts About the Famous Inventor

Here are some facts about Samuel Morse.

  • Samuel Morse was born in 1791 in Charlestown, Massachusetts in the United States.

  • His father was a pastor and geographer.
  • Samuel Morse studied at Phillips Academy and Yale College. He supported himself by selling his paintings.
  • In 1811, Samuel Morse and his father traveled to England. They stayed there for three years and Morse worked on improving his painting technique.
  • One his most well-known paintings is called Dying Hercules.
  • In 1816, Samuel Morse painted President John Adams. He also painted the Marquis de Layfayette, a leading French supporter of the American Revolution.
  • Morse traveled to Europe in the early 1830s. He visited Italy, France and Switzerland and became friends with James Fennimore Cooper (author of The Last of the Mohicans) after meeting him in Paris.
  • In 1832, Samuel Morse met Charles Thomas Jackson, a student of electromagnetism. Keen to develop a rapid means of communicating over long distance, Morse developed the single-wire telegraph.

Samuel Morse

  • He developed the Morse code with Alfred Vail, a way of transmitting text through a series of on/off tones, became the main language of telegraphy.
  • In 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail demonstrated the electric telegraph to the public at the Speedwell Ironworks in New Jersey.
  • In 1844, Morse set up a telegraph wire between Washington DC and Baltimore. The first official message sent was “What hath God wrought.”
  • In the 1850s, Samuel Morse was in favour of slavery, believing it to be sanctioned by God.
  • Morse also invented a machine for cutting marble for three-dimensional sculptures.
  • Samuel Morse died in 1872, in New York City. He is buried at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
  • In 1871, a statue of Samuel Morse was put up in Central Park, New York. More than 10000 people witnessed the statue’s unveiling.
  • The death of Samuel Morse’s first wife was the event that triggered his work on developing the telegraph. He was informed by his wife’s illness by a message sent by horse messenger. He raced to her side but he hadn’t received the message in time. By the time he arrived, she was already dead and buried.

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