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. Until his death in 2019 he was 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 Esterly’s life, forcing him to question his abilities and delve deeply into what it means to make something well.
Exploring the determination, concentration and skill that go into achieving any form of excellence, Esterly breathed life into the world of wood carving. This special collector’s edition of The Lost Carving reveals an astonishing life and deftly illustrates the union of man and material necessary to create a lasting work of art.
'A wonderful book... riveting.' -- Edmund de Waal 'This is an illuminating and exhilarating book, as intricate and wonderfully engaging as the carvings that lie at its heart.' * Times Literary Supplement, Best Books of the Year * 'A beautifully written account of craft and inspiration.' * The New Republic, Best Books of the Year * 'One of those gentle quest memoirs in which the reader becomes an intimate Esterly writes evocatively full of fine-grained and engaging detail.' * Mail on Sunday * '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 '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 A big moment for the obscure world of wood carving.' * The Wall Street Journal *
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