The Greatness of Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons (4 April 1648 – 3 August 1721) was a Dutch-British sculptor and wood carver known for his work in England, including Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral and other London churches, Petworth House and other country houses, Trinity College Oxford and Trinity College Cambridge. Gibbons was born and educated in Holland of English parents, his father being a merchant. He was a member of the Draper’s company of London. He is widely regarded as the finest wood carver working in England, and the only one whose name is widely known among the general public. Most of his work is in lime (basswood) wood, especially decorative baroque garlands made up of still life elements at about life size, made to frame mirrors and decorate the walls of churches and palaces, but he also produced furniture and small relief plaques with figurative scenes. He also worked in stone, mostly for churches. By the time he was established he led a large workshop, and the extent to which his personal hand appears in later work varies.