In 1786, extraordinary limewood carvings at Hampton Court near London by the seventeenth-century master Grinling Gibbons were destroyed by fire. A recent book by the American carver David Esterly, The Lost Carving: A journey to the heart of making (2012), describes his own commissioned efforts to replicate and replace those carvings. It is a thoroughly enjoyable book. To read it is to sense the pungent majesty of wood and the strange connection between timber and humanity. During carving, by Esterly’s account, the wood under his hand seemed to wrestle, even interweave itself, with the muscles and brain of the carver.
Alan Atkinson on 'Endeavour: The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World' by Peter Moore
Endeavour: The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World
by Peter Moore
Vintage, $34.99 pb, 416 pp, 9780143780267
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Alan Atkinson is an honorary senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia. The third and final volume of his book, The Europeans in Australia, won the Victorian Prize for Literature 2015 and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History. He is also the author of Camden, The Commonwealth of Speech and a number of other books.
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