London and Dalkeith
Grinling Gibbons Tercentenary
The Grinling Gibbons Tercentenary exhibition, hosted by the Master Carvers Association, was endlessly delayed by Covid restrictions but eventually took place in 2021 at St Mary’s Abchurch, the Dutch Church in London, and in 2022 at Dalkeith Palace.
Two painters, myself and Tim Wright were invited to contribute work. For the London exhibitions I painted two watercolours of the light enveloping the screen at Trinity College Chapel Oxford, but for Dalkeith, where the subject was almost two dimensional and received no direct sunlight, a different approach was required.
Through a Glass Darkly
The two Grinling Gibbons fireplaces at Dalkeith offer a fascinating portal into an earlier age.
With that in mind I used corrugated cardboard to represent one of the overmantels as a flickering TV monitor, offering a glimpse of the aesthetic dynamic
at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. The overmantel sits above Gibbons’ carved marble relief of Neptune and Galatea, commissioned by Anne Duchess of Buccleuch following the execution of her husband the Duke of Monmouth.
As a grim commemoration of that event she also had the trees in the avenue cut to head height. Dalkeith was truly the dark heart of the baroque.