Book Series Art History (Outside a Series)

Grinling Gibbons and his Contemporaries (1650–1700)

The Golden Age of Woodcarving in the Netherlands and Britain

Ada De Wit

  • Pages: 426 p.
  • Size:220 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:350 col., 2 tables b/w., 2 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58488-1
  • Hardback
  • Available


“Ada de Wit’s new book performs many services. Most narrowly, it is an insightful monographic treatment of the greatest decorative sculptor of the second half of the seventeenth century in both England and the Netherlands. Most art historians, however, will be more interested in its many other aspects: its consideration of Anglo-Dutch artistic relations; its foray into European court culture; its coverage of shipbuilding and maritime artistry; its presentation of Dutch Calvinist attitudes toward ornament; its discussion of the social strivings of artists both in Holland and England; its consideration of the culture of the Dutch and English country house, and its investigation of art patronage in the Netherlands during this period.” (Ethan Matt Kavaler, in Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews, September 2022)


Ada de Wit is Curator of Works of Art and Sculpture at the Wallace Collection, London. A specialist in decorative arts and historic interiors, she is an expert on the art of Grinling Gibbons.


One of the greatest artists of the English Baroque, Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721) was born in Rotterdam to English parents. He moved to England at the age of nineteen and embarked on a spectacular career. His exuberant lifelike carvings in limewood can be admired at Hampton Court Palace and at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. But what was the Dutch tradition that shaped him? And what set him apart from the other carvers of his time? This book explains the importance of woodcarving and provides new insights into the work of woodcarvers in the Netherlands and Britain. Full of discoveries and new images, it discusses little-known interiors, objects, craftsmen and their patrons, and provides a rich introduction to the ornamental world of woodcarving.