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Grinling Gibbons

Grinling Gibbons: The Michelangelo of Woodcarving showcases Gibbons’ masterpieces, including the reredos, font, and organ case at St James’s. Discover Gibbons’ intricate baroque sculptures and hear from leading curators and craftsmen about his lasting impact.

Dive into the history and artistry that make St James’s a cultural treasure in central London in this film produced by St James’s in association with the Grinling Gibbons Society, April 2021, made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Grinling Gibbons is probably England’s most famous woodcarver. From 1671 to 1721 he moulded and shaped wood into the most memorable creations.

His trademark baroque sculptures are instantly recognisable: a cascade of flowers, fruits, leaves, fish and birds that captivate the viewer with their intricacy.

In an exceptional career, Gibbons was appointed as master carver to George I and William III and collaborated with Sir Christopher Wren on numerous projects focusing on architectural decoration. His work can be seen at Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, St Paul’s Cathedral, the National Trust’s Petworth House as well as at St James’s Church.

Here we have three unique examples of Gibbons’ work: a marble font (where Ottobah Cugoano and William Blake were baptised), a limewood reredos and an organ case.

To explore the power of these sculptures, St James’s has filmed curators, a sculptor, a woodcarver and a master carver discussing Gibbons’ enduring legacy. Join leading curators from the Wallace Collection, Royal Academy of Arts and Victoria and Albert Museum for a film about England’s most eminent woodcarver.