Grinling Gibbons

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Gibbons, Grinling (1648–1721). Woodcarver and sculptor. Born in Rotterdam and probably trained in Holland, he was in England by 1668. Writing in 1671, the diarist John Evelyn refers to introducing Gibbons, ‘whom I had lately found in an Obscure place’, to Charles II and Christopher Wren. Gibbons's decoration appears in Windsor castle and Hampton Court and also in St Paul's cathedral on the choir-stalls and organ screen. One of the most skilful woodcarvers ever, his garlands of fruit, flowers, small animals, and cherubs led Horace Walpole to say, ‘There is no instance of a man before Gibbons who gave to wood the loose and airy lightness of flowers.’ He was less at home with bronze and marble. The bronze of James II outside the National Gallery in London, attributed to Gibbons and for which he was paid, was probably the work of his partner Artus Quellin. Other examples of woodcarving are in the Victoria and Albert Museum and many country houses throughout Britain.

June Cochrane

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Gibbons, Grinling (1648–1721) British wood carver, b. Holland. His decorative carvings of fruit, flowers, and cherubs' heads adorn the choir stalls of St Paul's Cathedral, London. His patrons included Charles II and George I.

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