The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making
Awestruck by the sight of a Grinling Gibbons carving in a London church, David Esterly chose to dedicate his life to the art - its physical control, intricate beauty and intellectual demands. Forty years later, he is the foremost practitioner of Gibbons's forgotten technique, which revolutionised ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s. After a fire at Hampton Court Palace in 1986 destroyed much of Gibbons's masterpiece, the job fell to David Esterly to restore his idol's work to its former glory. It turned out to be the most challenging year in Esterley's life, forcing him to question his abilities and delve deeply into what it means to make something well. Esterly breathes life into the world of wood carving and deftly illustrates the union of man and material necessary to create a lasting work of art. He also describes the determination, concentration and skill that go into achieving any form of excellence.
'This is a strange and wonderful book, simultaneously a meditation on the nature of making and a reflection on time. It is riveting' Edmund de Waal, bestselling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes 'David Esterly's memoir is a beautiful, intricate mediation on creativity and discovery, on fire and rebirth, on culture and history. Truly, this is a story to be pored over with love and admiration' Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray Love 'Every now and then there comes along a memoir that stands out for its beauty, its ability to charm, and its insights into a life given over to art. This lovely book about woodcarving is just such a work. Entrancing' Alexander McCall Smith, bestselling author of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency
David Esterly is the author of Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving and curated the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition on Gibbons in 1998. He has been a professional wood carver since the 1970s, and has been profiled in the Financial Times, the New Yorker and the New York Times. He lives in upstate New York.