The Lost Carving
A Journey to the Heart of MakingBook - 2012
Awestruck at the sight of a Grinling Gibbons carving in a London church, David Esterly chose to dedicate his life to woodcarving--its physical rhythms, intricate beauty, and intellectual demands. Forty years later, he is the foremost practitioner of Gibbons's forgotten technique, which revolutionized ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s with its spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits, and foliage.
After a disastrous fire at Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace, Esterly was asked to replace the Gibbons masterpiece destroyed by the flames. It turned out to be the most challenging year in Esterly's life, forcing him to question his abilities and delve deeply into what it means to make a thing well. Written with a philosopher's intellect and a poet's grace, The Lost Carving explores the connection between creativity and physical work and illuminates the passionate pursuit of a vocation that unites head and hand and heart.
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From Michael Fishlock ISBN 1-871569-49-4–The carvers –pages 89-93: The first cut, which marked the beginning of the recarving was made by the chisel of Richard Hartley. David (Esterly) worked at Hampton Court for 12 months, the first two of which were spent studying photographs and planning the work. The remaining 10 months were devoted to carving. Trevor Ellis continued to work for two full years after completing the main drop. Three other carvers made a significant contribution to the success of the restoration. Roger Board worked on the drops in the First/Second Presense Chambers, Neil Trinder tackled 4 other pieces form the same room and Laurence Beckford restored the extremely fragile Le Sage carvings. It was a unique achievement and all six carvers realized that this was an episode in their professional lives which would probably never be repeated.
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