Exhibition | The Genius of Grinling Gibbons

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 10, 2018

Now on view at Fairfax House:

The Genius of Grinling Gibbons: From Journeyman to King’s Carver
Fairfax House, York, 14 April – 14 September 2018

Grinling Gibbons, King David Panel, ca. 1670, boxwood (York: Fairfax House).

Fairfax House is delighted to announce the recent acquisition of Grinling Gibbons’s King David Panel the earliest-known, surviving work by Gibbons—made in York. Saved from international export and potential obscurity in a private collection, this magnificent work now forms part of the permanent collection at Fairfax House.

To celebrate the ‘home-coming’ of this exquisite piece of craftsmanship and to illuminate the extraordinary skill of Grinling Gibbons—the ‘Michelangelo of Wood’—Fairfax House will be mounting a major new exhibition in 2018, The Genius of Grinling Gibbons: From Journeyman to King’s Carver. Opening on the 370th anniversary of Grinling Gibbons’ birth, this exhibition also marks the 350th year of his arrival in York. Drawing on new research and bringing together artworks and sculpture by the hand of this iconic individual from across the country (including St Paul’s Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, the Sir John Soane Museum, and the V&A), The Genius of Grinling Gibbons celebrates Grinling Gibbons’s unequalled talent, his visionary genius, and his ability to transform the medium of wood into something magical. It will explore his development from an obscure journeyman through to becoming the country’s most celebrated master-carver, working for the King himself.

Call for Papers | Rethinking the Genius of Grinling Gibbons

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 10, 2018

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From the Call for Papers:

2018 Fairfax House Georgian Studies Symposium
Rethinking the Genius of Grinling Gibbons
Fairfax House, York, 19 October 2018

Proposals due by 31 August 2018

The sixth Fairfax House Symposium in Georgian Studies, held in conjunction with the exhibition The Genius of Grinling Gibbons at Fairfax House, and in partnership with the History of Art department at the University of York, aims to stimulate new thinking and new perspectives on the life, work, legacy, and significance of Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721), master carver of Restoration England.

Gibbons is a celebrated figure, yet much about his life and work remains obscure and contentious: not least, the difficulties of attribution have meant that the exact extent, chronology, and character of his oeuvre remain unclear. Similarly, as a ‘great figure’ of the Restoration, he has tended to be considered in isolation rather than placed in his social, political, scientific, architectural, and artistic contexts, while his position within the marginalized field of decorative arts has distorted the scholarly and antiquarian perspectives through which he has been viewed. Questions of patronage, politics, artistic influence, and the collaborative and workshop cultures of creation, as well as the national identity ascribed to this ‘English genius’ who was born and trained in the Netherlands, may all require reassessment. The 370th anniversary of Gibbons’ birth (and the 350th anniversary of his arrival in York) provide an opportune moment to draw together the knowledge gained from previous generations of scholarship, to stimulate new ideas and perspectives, and to rethink the perception and reality of ‘England’s Master Carver’.

Proposals for papers dealing with ‘rethinking’ Grinling Gibbons are enthusiastically invited for potential inclusion in a one-day interdisciplinary symposium. We are keen to encourage participation from people from a wide range of disciplines and career profiles: museum professionals and volunteers, early career and distinguished scholars, curators and teachers in higher education, as well as artists, craftspeople and other practitioners.

We are seeking (1) more formal 20-minutes papers to be presented in panels organised around relevant themes, and (2) 10-minute object-based presentations and discussions which can be informal or formal in nature, focused on a particular work by or relevant to Gibbons. Please send proposals for either section 1 (formal 20-minute papers) or section 2 (10-minute object-based presentations), accompanied by a brief biography, to fairfaxhousesymposium@gmail.com by 31 August 2018. Any queries about the symposium should be sent to the same address.

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Note (added 8 November 2018) — I’m sorry to have not added the conference programme before the event took place, but for anyone who may have stumbled upon this page for information purposes after the fact, the programme is available as a Word file here. CH

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