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Grinling Gibbons: The Carved Room at Petworth House

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The Carved Room at Petworth House, West Sussex, is the crowning achievement of the 17^th^ century Dutch wood carver Grinling Gibbons.

Born in Rotterdam to English parents, Gibbons emigrated to the UK after training in the Netherlands. He was 'discovered' by diarist John Evelyn carving by candlelight in Deptford, South London. Evelyn was an enthusiastic supporter of the young craftsman, promoting his talent to key patrons and commissioners of the period. Gibbons's extraordinarily fine work soon came to the attention of King William III and he became known as the 'King's Carver', the monarch commissioning him to create exuberant carvings at Kensington Palace and Hampton Court.

Gibbons was employed to decorate the Carved Room at Petworth by Charles Seymour, 6^th^ Duke of Somerset. Seymour, an avid collector, was showing loyalty the king by using his favoured craftsman to create fashionable and bombastic new rooms in the house. Over the years, the Carved Room was extended and is in its present state a huge space, which comes alive with intricate swags, flowers and surprising oddities carved by Gibbons and other 17^th ^century woodcarvers.

In this HENI Talk, National Trust curator David Taylor recounts the story of this remarkable room.

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David Taylor's expertise lies in 16th and 17th-century portraiture and early modern Scottish art. He also specialises in the work of Sir Peter Lely and female patronage at the court of Charles II. David was previously Senior Curator with the National Galleries of Scotland, joining the National Trust in 2012 as Curator of Pictures and Sculpture, London. He has lectured and published widely in his field and has curated a number of exhibitions on subjects ranging from Enlightenment Scotland to Stanley Spencer.

As one of the National Trust's experts, David is no stranger to the media. Interest in the Rembrandt news story in 2013 saw David sharing his knowledge and excitement with TV, radio and print journalists from the UK and around the world.

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