As we were having lunch in the Ashmolean, we were asked if we would like to see the Grinling Gibbons carvings in Trinity College chapel close up. Of course. It’s not known who designed the Chapel. It used to be thought to be by Wren or Dean Aldrich, but the key person was Ralph Bathurst, who helped found the Royal Society, was chaplain to the King and became President of Trinity in 1664. He commissioned Wren to design a new building in 1665, but work on the chapel only began in 1691. He was a vigorous fundraiser, lamenting that a potential donor had gout in her right hand ‘which the Scripture makes to be the Giving Hand’:-
We climbed the scaffolding and were able to see the detail of the carving, previously ebonised. Who was responsible for them ? It could be the Gibbons workshop. There was an Oxford joiner called Arthur Frogley who had been mastercarpenter at the Sheldonian and worked on the chapel at St. Edmund’s Hall. Or Jonathan Maine who worked for Wren at St. Paul’s.
The figures on either side of the altar:-
Details of the carving at the east end:-
The figure carving at the west end:-
And some of the pieces on the floor waiting to be reinstalled:-