Talk and reception

Grinling Gibbons and the Country House with John Goodall

The David Esterly Memorial Lecture

And Mid-summer Evening Wine Reception at The Drapers’ Hall, London

Dr John Goodall, Architectural Editor of Country Life magazine, historian and award-winning author, traces Gibbons’ country house legacy in this lecture in memory of David Esterly and part of Grinling Gibbons 300. Drawing on Country Life’s rich archive of images, John will take us on an exploration of the domestic schemes and country house interiors which provided the setting for Gibbons’ consummate carving, new techniques and extraordinary realism.

Grinling Gibbons was admitted to the Drapers’ Company in 1672 and served as a Warden in 1704, 1712 and 1714. Archives from the period will be on display. The Company is kindly hosting this event, which will be an opportunity to see the magnificent, newly-restored Livery Hall and other reception rooms. Weather permitting, wine and canapes will be served in the garden in the heart of the City, where the stone cartouche by the sculptor Miriam Johnson, recently commissioned by the Company to mark the Gibbons Tercentenary, is displayed. The Drapers’ Hall is a monument to a fascinating progression of architects, surveyors and craftsmen who have all left their mark on this extraordinary building.

Book your tickets here through Eventbrite.


This memorial lecture commemorates David Esterly (1944-2019),  preeminent limewood carver on both sides of the Atlantic, whose career was inspired by Grinling Gibbons and infused with a passion for the Gibbons tradition of high relief carving. His contributions to scholarship in this field have been immense.  David, who died in 2019, was sadly unable to see the fruits of Gibbons’ tercentenary.

John Goodall is the architectural editor of Country Life. He is responsible for writing and commissioning the celebrated series of architectural features published in the magazine every week. John has been involved in various television series on history and architecture and his books include God’s House at Ewelme (2001), The English Castle (2011), Parish Church Treasures (2015), English House Style (2019) and The Castle. A History (2022).