The Lost Carving by David Esterly
A Journey to the Heart of Making

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...the photographs of Mr Esterly’s astonishing carvings speak for themselves.
-The Economist


“A beautiful, intricate meditation on creativity and discovery, on fire and rebirth.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

Awestruck at the sight of a Grinling Gibbons carving in a London church, David Esterly chose to dedicate his life to woodcarving—its physical rhythms, intricate beauty, and intellectual demands. Forty years later, he is the foremost practitioner of Gibbons’s forgotten technique, which revolutionized ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s with its spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits, and foliage.

After a disastrous fire at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace, Esterly was asked to replace the Gibbons masterpiece destroyed by the flames.  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 a thing well. Written with a philosopher’s intellect and a poet’s grace, The Lost Carving explores the connection between creativity and physical work and illuminates the passionate pursuit of a vocation that unites head and hand and heart.

About David Esterly

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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 limewood carver since the 1970s and has been profiled in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Financial Times. He has written for many magazines, including The Times Literary Supplement and House & Garden. He lives in Barneveld, New York.
Published December 27, 2012 by Penguin Books. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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The Economist

on Mar 16 2013

...the photographs of Mr Esterly’s astonishing carvings speak for themselves.

Read Full Review of The Lost Carving: A Journey t... | See more reviews from The Economist

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