Wren's woodcarvers

Genius and Rivalry in 17th Century London's Carving Workshops

Experts discuss Wren's furnishings and their conservation, with particular reference to the Wren 300 Wood Conservation in Action Week at St Mary Abchurch. The speakers will be Alan Lamb, Lee Prosser, and Jimmy Aitken.

The event will take place on Thursday the 4th of May  at 6 p.m. at St Mary Abchurch

St Mary Abchurch retains a unique range of woodcarving by the finest carvers of late 17th century England, including two - Grinling Gibbons and William Emmet - who at different times both held the post of The King’s Master Carver. The church provides a unique opportunity to examine Gibbons’ carving in the context of work by lesser-known but highly accomplished rivals and to consider some of the issues and techniques involved in the conservation of some of the countries finest woodcarvings.

The event will be free to attend, but registration will be required. Further details to follow.


Jimmy Aitken

Jimmy Aitken is the WREN 300 project lead for Cliveden Conservation - in their role as conservation partner. Jimmy spent 20+ years as a heritage builder before taking some time out to complete a Masters in Historic Conservation. On completing his studies, he took up a project manager role in the ‘Architectural Projects’ department at Cliveden. Jimmy has worked on a wide array of ecclesiastical conservation projects, along with work for the National Trust, English Heritage, and Crown Estate.

Alan Lamb 

Alan originally trained as a baroque stringed-instrument maker and conservator at The London College of Furniture. This developed into a passion for carving and decorative woodwork and for thirty years he has directed a busy carving and conservation workshop, working predominantly on elaborate 17th century interiors, including the conservation and restoration of Grinling Gibbons carving at Trinity College, Oxford. For ten years Alan was Head of Historic Carving at City and Guilds of London Art School leading the graduate and post-graduate courses in stone carving and wood carving, and training many of the professional carvers and conservators working in the heritage sector today.

Other projects have included: work on St George’s Chapel Windsor, as master carver overseeing the design and production of forty new sculptures and in 2012 a commission to design the sculptural work for the Royal Barge (The Spirit of Chartwell) for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

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