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Eric Gill

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

Gill was born in Brighton, Sussex (now East Sussex). In 1900 he began to study lettering under the calligrapher Edward Johnston at the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts.

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.

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 lettering 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 he designed a postage stamp for the Post Office. In 1938 he produced The Creation of Adam, three bas-reliefs in stone for the League of Nations building in Geneva.

Gill also designed the typefaces Golden Cockerell Roman (1929), Solus (1929), Joanna (based on work by Granjon; 1930–31), Aries (1932), Floriated Capitals (1932), Bunyan (1934), Pilgrim (recut version of Bunyan; 1953) and Jubilee (1934).

Gill published numerous essays on the relationship between art and religion. He also produced a number of erotic engravings.

Gill died in Uxbridge, Middlesex.

Table of contents
1 Quotation
2 References
3 Related articles


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

                         Of patience there is this to be
 said.  To be patient is to suffer.  By their fruits men
 know one another, but by their sufferings they are
 what they are.  And suffering is not merely the en-
 durance of physical or mental anguish, but of joy
 also.  A rabbit caught in a trap may be supposed to
 suffer physical anguish : but it suffers nothing else.
 The man crucified may be supposed to suffer phy-
 sical & mental anguish, but he suffers also intense
 happiness and joy.  The industrialist workman is
 often simply as a rabbit in a trap ; the artist is often
 as a man nailed to a cross.  In patience souls are pos-
 sessed.  No lower view of the matter will suffice.
from An Essay on Typography (ISBN 0-87923-950-6, p. 84)


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