I’ve just been to see the show of Grinling Gibbons exhibition at Compton Verney. The State Hermitage Museum St Petersburg had agreed to lend their important portrait of the celebrated Grinling Gibbons by Godfrey Kneller, but it couldn’t be sent due to Covid and the current Brexit import difficulties. Escalating transport costs and problems with freight are now making these international art loans, which we had enjoyed in the past, extremely difficult today. Some carvings of Grinling Gibbons appear in “Hermitage Revealed” my feature documentary which encapsulates the story of Russian history within the State Hermitage Museum.
My film tells how Catherine the Great purchased the Walpole collection from Houghton Hall in 1779, for her own picture collection, which is why so many of the works are now in Russia. Luckily for Compton Verney, the National Portrait Gallery have stepped in by loaning a substitution of their own Gibbons portrait for the big anniversary exhibition.
Read full article by Margy Kinmonth: GRINLING GIBBONS IS ALIVE AND WELL AND STILL IN ST PETERSBURG published in Russian Art + Culture on 27 September 2021.