Grinling Gibbons

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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 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.