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York Minster’s Grinling Gibbons Exhibition to launch with a message from HRH The Prince of Wales

28 Jul, 2021

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An audio message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at Evensong on Sunday 1 August, will launch Grinling Gibbons: Monuments to Glory, York Minster’s year-long exhibition marking the beginning of nationwide tercentenary celebrations for the life, work and legacy of the extraordinary decorative carver who died on 3 August 1721.

The photographic exhibition is part of Grinling Gibbons 300 – Carving a Place in History – a national programme of festivals and events led by the Grinling Gibbons Society to mark the three hundredth anniversary of his death.

The exhibition and sculpture trail tell the story of Gibbons’ life, from his birth to English parents in Rotterdam in 1648, his early exposure to Flemish and Dutch sculpture styles, his time in York where he mastered English carving and sculpture traditions and the move to London which in 1693 culminated, in his appointment as master sculptor and carver in wood to William III.

Gibbons completed three notable commissions for York Minster during his lifetime:  stone monuments of three Archbishops of York:  Sterne (1664-1683), Dolben (1683-1686) and Lamplugh (1688-1691). The exhibition places these monuments in the context of his life and wider work. Gibbons’ work can today be seen in palaces, churches, museums and some of the country’s great historic houses.

In his message, The Prince of Wales, who is patron of both the York Minster Fund and the Grinling Gibbons Society, pays tribute to the exceptional talent and craft of Gibbons and to the generations of wood and stone carvers who have followed in his footsteps. York Minster’s current generation of carvers and stonemasons are currently working to repair and replace decaying and eroded masonry on the cathedral’s 600-year old St Cuthbert Window.

In his message, His Royal Highness says: “This evening marks the beginning of this year of tercentenary celebrations and allows me to express my support for two organizations of which I have recently become Patron – the Grinling Gibbons Society and the York Minster Fund.

“As we celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of this incomparably talented craftsman, we must also celebrate and pay tribute to all the magnificent craftsmen and women who have followed in his wake, and continue to do so today, leaving us with such a magnificent legacy in York Minster and beyond.”

Commenting on the exhibition, Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund said:  “Gibbons was a master craftsman, a celebrity in his own lifetime, a towering figure whose influence is reflected every day here at York Minster in the work of our team of expert carvers and masons who lovingly protect, repair and restore this magnificent cathedral.

“We are delighted that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has agreed to champion the memory and the legacy of this remarkable man and highlight his achievements to contemporary audiences.”

An audio-visual version of the message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, will go live on the Minster’s You Tube page and social media accounts on Sunday 1 August at 5.45pm.

The photographic exhibition and sculpture trail Grinling Gibbons:  Monuments to Glory will be at York Minster from 1 August 2021 until 31 July 2022.   Entry is free with general admission.

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