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Gill, Eric (1882-1940)
by Scholes, Robert


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Modernist Journals Project
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Eric Gill (1882 - 1940)

Born in Brighton, Sussex the son of a Congregationalist minister, Gill became articled to W.H. Caroe, architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in London in 1900. He attended evening classes at Central School of Arts and Crafts and studied letter design under Edward Johnston, he also began to carve in stone. By 1904 he was making a living from letter engraving and within six years he was sculpturing figures. His first solo exhibition was held at at the Chenil Gallery, London, 1911. He was the designer of 10 printing typefaces including Perpetua and Gill Sans. He carved the Prospero and Ariel figurehead for Broadcasting House, London, and the Stations of the Cross of Westminster Cathedral. His life was far too complicated and strange to summarize here, and his autobiography is a much-praised book--but it leaves out a lot of important things. These things, including an astonishing record of incestuous activity, carefully recorded in his coded diary, have been brought to light in the recent biography by Fiona MacCarthy, Eric Gill: A Lover's Quest for Art and God. Gill was a friend of A. R. Orage, the editor of The New Age from 1907 to 1922, and he contributed to the magazine occasionally. His artwork is sensuous and powerful.

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