Eric Gill was a typographer and lettercutter whose typefaces still feature in our lives, especially his Perpetua and Gill Sans. He was also a sculptor and wood-engraver. He was a key personality in three Catholic art and craft communities at Ditchling, Capel-y-ffin and Pigotts. He was a devoted family man but, at the same time, he was fickle and ...
Eric Gill was a typographer and lettercutter whose typefaces still feature in our lives, especially his Perpetua and Gill Sans. He was also a sculptor and wood-engraver. He was a key personality in three Catholic art and craft communities at Ditchling, Capel-y-ffin and Pigotts. He was a devoted family man but, at the same time, he was fickle and quarrelsome and a believer in complete sexual freedom. He had a succession of mistresses and affairs. In this biography the author analyzes these apparent contradictions. Fiona MacCarthy directed the Omega Workshops Exhibition at the Crafts Council in 1984, and in 1987 "Eye for Industry" at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She wrote "A History of British Design", "British Design Since 1880" and "Simple Life". She was awarded the Royal Society of Arts Bicentenary Medal for 1987.
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Eric Gill was an extremely talented typographer and artist, who tried mightily to create a kind of Roman Catholic utopia for himself and his family. He also felt free to explore his sexuality in a most uncommon way for the times he lived in, while not seeing any dichotomy between his religious beliefs and his odd predilections. The author does her best to reconcile these divergent aspects of his personality; it's a good read.
Publishers Weekly, 1989-02-03 An English artist-craftsman in the tradition of William Morris, Eric Gill (1882-1940) exemplifies the search for a lifestyle to heal the split between work and leisure, art and industry. He is remembered today for his fine engravings and stone carvings, his legendary typefaces and book designs for the Golden Cockerel Press. Yet there was another side to the man, downplayed by previous biographers: a fervent convert to Catholicism and leader of three Catholic arts-and-crafts communes, Gill had a hyperactive libido which extended to incest with his sisters and daughters, as well as numerous extramarital affairs, according to British writer MacCarthy. He rationalized his penile acrobatics by inventing a bizarre pseudoreligious theory. In MacCarthy's candid portrait, Gill, who preserved the outward image of a devout father-figure, was neither saint nor humbug, but a highly sexed creative artist trapped by his Victorian concept of masculinity. This charismatic firebrand was a renegade Fabian socialist, a bohemian friend of Augustus John and Bertrand Russell. His adventurous life, as re-created in this beautifully written, absorbing biography, is disturbingly relevant to our time. Photos. (Apr.)
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