The Way I See Things


Grinling Gibbons

If you're a fan of Grinling Gibbons, or of wood carving, or of sculpture, or of C17th British history, I can't recommend too strongly that you take yourself off to Compton Verney in Warwickshire at your earliest convenience, to see the exhibition Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making. I'm confident that you won't regret it.

This is a detail from a panel carved for a dining room, which is a riot of birds, fish and crustaceans, with sprays and swags of flowers and foliage, ribbons, cords and nets, all carved out of lime wood. It's quite breathtaking - and it's privately owned, so who knows if it will ever be seen in public again. Tonight's extra (as I haven't managed to persuade blipfoto to accept the phone photo I took to capture the entirety of this panel) is one of the coats of arms Gibbons carved for the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge. 

R and I both loved this exhibition - for me it involved a perfect combination of history, natural history, and astonishingly skilled craftsmanship, and if I find myself with a couple of hours to spare it's entirely possible that I might go again before it closes at the end of January.

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