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Eric Gill

British, 1882 - 1940

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Biography

Gill was engraver and letter-designer as well as sculptor. He studied at Chichester School of Art before being apprenticed to an architect (1900-1903). He began further study at the Central School of Arts and Crafts with Lethaby and Edward Johnston and took up inscription work in 1903. He began carving figure sculpture in 1910, at first possibly quite deliberately "primitive" in style and effect. His first major sculpture work, The Stations of the Cross at Westminster Cathedral (1913-1918) again seems almost neo-Romanesque, but this would be quite in line with Gill's identity as a very individualistic heir to the attitudes of the neo-medievalist, post Pre-Raphaelite Arts and Crafts movement. By the 1920s a certain smoother assurance was evident, especially in his favorite subjects, nude women (Mankind, Tate 1927-1928; Eve, Tate 1928). But he considered himself clearly an outsider, though his employment on major schemes of public architectural sculpture (London Underground Headquarters, St. James's 1928; League of Nations Palace, geneva 1935-1938) indicate the high value in which he was regarded. He was a man obsessed equally by art, sex and religion (he was converted to Roman Catholicism in 1913) and he wrote extremely ably on all three, as well as on politics and society. (The Last Romantics: The Romantic Tradition in British Art, ed. John Christian, London: Lund Humphries, 1989, p.149)

Artist Bibliography
1907
Ref Number: XIX.32 (Arthur Eri
T.-B.XIX.32 (Arthur Eric Rowton Peter Joseph Gill)

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