Grinling Gibbons, Master Sculptor and Carver in Wood: his training, workshop and links with the Quellinus family
Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721) is today mainly known as a woodcarver who introduced realistic carving in limewood to England. His considerable output as a sculptor of bronze statues and stone monuments has been less studied. Among the reasons for this situation is the difficulty of addressing issues concerning the quality of his work in stone, which varies significantly, and its authorship. Gibbons collaborated with Flemish sculptors on his monuments and statues. This paper will focus on his Dutch background and provide the basis for our understanding of his diverse oeuvre. It will also deal with some popular misconceptions about Gibbons’s work.
Ada de Wit is Curator of Works of Art and Sculpture at the Wallace Collection, London. Before joining the museum, Ada worked freelance for museums and dealers in the Netherlands. She holds two MA degrees, one in art history and one in decorative arts and historic interiors. She has done extensive research on seventeenth-century woodcarving and has given numerous talks on Grinling Gibbons. Her PhD thesis ‘Grinling Gibbons and his Contemporaries (1650-1700). The Golden Age of Woodcarving in the Netherlands and Britain’ is being published by Brepols.