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 currently attached to the University of Sydney, where he is Senior Tutor at St Paul’s College. The third and final volume of his book, The Europeans in Australia, won the Victorian Prize for Literature 2015, and has been shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and for the Ernest Scott Prize. He is also the author of Camden and The Commonwealth of Speech.
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