Accessibility statement

Rethinking the Genius of Grinling Gibbons

Friday 19 October 2018, 9.00AM

The sixth Fairfax House Symposium in Georgian Studies, held in conjunction with the exhibition ‘The Genius of Grinling Gibbons’ at Fairfax House, aims to stimulate new thinking and new perspectives on the life, work, legacy and significance of Grinling Gibbons, master carver of Restoration England.

Gibbons is a celebrated figure yet much about his life and work remains obscure: 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 period he has tended to be considered in isolation rather than placed in social, political and artistic context, 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, collaborative and workshop cultures of creation, and the national identity ascribed to this ‘English genius’ who was born and trained in the Netherlands, are all to a great degree open questions demanding 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 Gibbons study and scholarship, to stimulate new ideas and perspectives, and to rethink the perception and reality of ‘England’s Master Carver’.

To book your place, please visit:

Location: The Hilton, York and Fairfax House