A remarkable and beautifully carved narrative high relief depicting a visionary concert led by King David, playing a harp, ringed by dancing cherubs and in the heavenly realms accompanied by angelic musicians and St Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

A remarkable and beautifully carved narrative high relief depicting a visionary concert led by King David, playing a harp, ringed by dancing cherubs and in the heavenly realms accompanied by angelic musicians and St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Reflecting this master craftsman’s own love of music, the panel is a celebration of Psalms 148 and 150.

Making the design even more special, the harp is incised with the armorials of the Barwick family signalling its associations with both this family and the Fairfaxes of Denton. This work is believed to be the earliest known work by Grinling Gibbons. Greater still, it is the only known artwork from this master craftsman’s three formative years in York when he was learning his craft under carver and architect John Etty.

The magnificent King David carving offers a rare and incomparable insight into Gibbons’ early beginnings and development before he rose to fame for creating artworks across Britain’s houses and palaces and became the ‘King’s Carver’.

This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Fairfax House

Castlegate, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9RN
01904 655 543
Website

Opening times

Mid Feb – 31 Dec. Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sun: 11.00am – 4.00pm. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. Monday entrance by guided tour at 11.00am and 2.00pm. Closed 24 - 26 Dec

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