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Eric Gill

From Academic Kids

Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (February 22, 1882 - November 17, 1940) was a British sculptor, typographer and engraver.

Gill was born in Brighton, Sussex (now East Sussex). In 1902 he attended classes, studying lettering under the calligrapher Edward Johnston at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

In 1906 he married, and the following year he moved with his family to Hopkin's Crank [or Sopers?], a house in an artists' community at Ditchling in Sussex, where he started producing sculpture. His first public success was Mother and Child (1912). In 1914 he produced sculptures for the stations of the cross in Westminster Cathedral. In the same year he met the typographer Stanley Morison. After the war, Gill's pupils included the young David Jones, who soon began a relationship with Gill's daughter, Petra.

Gill's devout Roman Catholicism did not prevent him from living a bohemian lifestyle and taking lovers. According to the 1989 biography by Fiona MacCarthy, Gill's relationships included two of his sisters and two of his daughters. Robert Speaight's earlier biography mentioned none of this.

In 1924 he moved to Capel-y-ffin in Wales, where he set up a new workshop, to be followed by Jones and other disciples. In 1925 he produced the Perpetua font, based on Classical Roman lettering, for Morison, who was working for the Monotype Corporation. This was followed by the Gill Sans typeface, based on the sans-serif lettering originally designed by Johnston for London Underground.

Gill soon tired of Capel-y-ffin, coming to feel that it had the wrong atmosphere. In 1928 he moved to Pigotts near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, where he set up a printing press. He took on an apprentice named David Kindersley, who became a successful sculptor and engraver. In 1932 he produced a group of sculptures, Prospero and Ariel, for the BBC's Broadcasting House in London. In 1937 Gill designed a postage stamp for the Post Office, and in 1938 he produced The Creation of Adam, three bas-reliefs in stone for the League of Nations building in Geneva.

Apart from Gill Sans, which is his most famous creation and lasting legacy to typography, Gill also designed the typefaces Perpetua (1926), Golden Cockerel Roman (1929), Solus (1929), Joanna (based on work by Granjon; 193031), Aries (1932), Floriated Capitals (1932), Bunyan (1934), Pilgrim (recut version of Bunyan; 1953) and Jubilee (1934).

A deeply religious man, Eric Gill published numerous essays on the relationship between art and religion. He also produced a number of erotic engravings.

Gill died in Uxbridge, Middlesex in 1940. His headstone identifies him simply as a 'stone carver'. [1] (http://jargonbooks.com/portraits1.html)

Quotations

Art is skill, that is the first meaning of the word.

References

  • Attwater, Donal: A Cell of Good Living, 1969
  • Collins, Judith: Eric Gill - The Sculpture 1998
  • Gill, Cecil, Warde & Kindersley; The Life and Works of Eric Gill, 1968
  • Gill, Eric: A Holy Tradition of Working: An Anthology of Writings, Golgonooza Press, 1983, ISBN 090388030X
  • Gill, Eric: An Essay on Typography, 1931, ISBN 0-87923-762-7, ISBN 0-87923-950-6 (reprints)
  • Gill, Eric: Christianity and Art, 1927
  • Gill, Eric: Art, 1934
  • Gill, Eric: Work and Property, 1937
  • Gill, Eric: Work and Culture, 1938
  • Gill, Eric: Autobiography: Quod Ore Sumpsimus, Jonathan Cape, 1940 (published posthumously) ISBN 1-870495-13-6
  • Holliday, Peter: Eric Gill in Ditchling, Oak Knoll Press, ISBN 1584560754
  • MacCarthy, Fiona: Eric Gill, Faber & Faber, 1989
  • Peace, David: Eric Gill - The Inscriptions, 1994
  • Skelton, Christopher, Editor: Eric Gill - The Engravings, 1983
  • Speaight, Robert: Life of Eric Gill, 1966
  • Thorpe, Joseph: Eric Gill, 1929
  • Yorke, Malcolm: Eric Gill - Man of Flesh and Spirit, 1981

Related articles

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