Eric Gill by Fiona MacCarthy



Eric Gill by Fiona MacCarthy



Part of the Introduction to the book by the author

Eric Gill was a great artist-craftsman. Others (though not many) matched him as a sculptor, wood engraver, letter cutter or typographer. But no one has approached his mastery over such a range of activity. In 1913 he was converted to Roman Catholicism and became a focal figure in a succession of Catholic art-and-craft communities: at Ditchling in Sussex, at Capel-y-ffin in the Welsh mountains and finally at Pigotts near High Wycombe. In all these places Gill himself, in the familiar stonemason's smock (belted, worn with woollen stockings, never trousers), presided genially over a large household - wife, daughters and a whole extended family of craftsmen, priests and passers-through. His aura of holy domesticity invited comparisons with the household of St Thomas More in Chelsea. One susceptible visitor, sitting down to eat with the family at Ditchling after listening to the daily reading of the Martyrology, reported seeing the actual nimbus round Gill's head.

Gill's chief battle cry was integration. He objected fervently to what he saw as the damaging divisions in society, the rupture between work and leisure, craftsmanship and industry, art and religion, flesh and spirit. He believed that integration must begin with domesticity: the 'cell of good living in the chaos of our world' which he so obsessively set about creating.

Gill wrote just before he died:
what I hope above all things is that I have done something towards reintegrating bed and board, the small farm and the workshop, the home and the school, earth and heaven.

1st paperback edition, 2nd reprint 2003, Pb, 338pp, 129 plates and 58 illustrations, 15.2 x 23.3 cm

Eric Gill by Fiona MacCarthy
22.00 EUR 27.12