The greatest British woodcarver was known for his realistic work in palaces, churches and country homes throughout England.
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
The most famous English woodcarver of all time was born, oddly enough, not in England at all but in Rotterdam, in what is now Holland, in 1648. Grinling Gibbons did not set foot in the British Isles until sometime around 1670 or 1671.
Gibbons was fortunate in that he was blessed with extraordinary talent in woodworking, and that his talent was recognized and promoted by a succession of patrons until he eventually came to the notice of Charles II.
Charles gave Gibbons commissions, as did William III and George I. Gibbons was also a favourite of the premier architect of the age, Christopher Wren. Wren called upon Gibbon to supply decorative carving for many of his country house commissions.
Perhaps to prove that he was not limited in his ability to the cascades, Gibbons produced a cravat made of limewood in a perfect imitation of Venetian needlepoint. The "cravat" was so lifelike that a foreign visitor was fooled into thinking it the standard dress of the English country gentleman!
Discounted Historic Hotels
Name the Historic attraction
British Heritage Awards
Celebrate the best of British Heritage in our annual
British History Quiz
This famous landscape garden designer gained his odd nickname from his habit of telling clients that their estates had 'great capability of improvement'
His real first name was Lancelot
His father in law was garden designer and architect William Kent
This Day in British History
23 November, 1887
Protesters in Trafalgar Square demanding free speech, unemployment action, and Irish rights clash with police