Eric Gill

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Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (born February 22, 1882 in Brighton , † November 17, 1940 in Uxbridge ) was a British sculptor , graphic artist and typographer .


Gill was the second of his parents' thirteen children. He graduated from Chichester Technical and Art School . From 1899 to 1903 he worked in an architecture office. He took writing classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London with Edward Johnston . From 1905 to 1909 he designed initials and book covers for Insel-Verlag , Leipzig . In 1906 he drew initials for Ashendene Press . In 1907 he moved to Ditching , Sussex , where he worked as a sculptor. From 1909 onwards he also carried out various sculptures. The Stations of the Cross created for Westminster Cathedral employed him from 1913 to 1918. In 1924 he moved to Capel-y-ffin , Wales . From 1925 to 1931 he drew initials and illustrations for the Golden Cockerel Press, for which he designed his own typeface. From 1928 he lived on Pigotts Farm in Speen near High Wycombe and worked for the London Underground . Together with his son-in-law, he founded a hand printing company for luxury bibliophile editions. In 1930 he made drawings for the last issue of Le Fleuron magazine . In 1936, Gill was named Royal Designer for Industry . A postage stamp was created in 1937 and remained in use for fifteen years.

Gill was a deeply religious man. He converted to Catholicism in 1913 and in 1918 co-founded the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, a religious community made up of several artisans. At the same time, Gill was driven by sexual obsessions. Some of his sculptures explicitly show sexual acts that could not be exhibited in public at the time. Sometimes his sister and her husband were the models. Gill recorded his sexual activities very meticulously in his diaries. After his death, his wife sold his personal estate, including the diaries, to the Clark Library at the University of Southern California . She had tried to censor some of the entries, but given the size of the files. The diaries show that Gill, in addition to numerous extramarital affairs, also had an incestuous relationship with his sisters Angela and Gladys. He had also molested his teenage daughters, Betty and Petra. Earlier biographers (e.g. Robert Speaight) withheld this, while today's biographers (e.g. Fiona MacCarthy) assume that this is also expressed in his artistic works and has inspired him.

Eric Gill died at the age of 58 after lung cancer surgery.

Font designs

Gill Sans , designed 1927-30
Signet for the Insel-Verlag
  • Gill Sans (1927-30), also known as Humanist 521 BT (1990)
  • Golden Cockerel novel (1929)
  • Perpetua (1929-30)
  • Solus (1929)
  • Joanna (1930-31)
  • Aries (1932)
  • Floriated Capitals (1932)
  • Bunyan, Pilgrim (1934)
  • Jubilee (1934).

Plastic work


  • Essay on Typography, London 1931
  • Autobiography, London 1940


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Max Caflisch: Font analyzes . Ed .: Typotron St. Gallen. tape 2 . St. Gallen 2003, ISBN 3-908151-32-5 , p. 267 .
  2. Eric Gill. Retrieved July 10, 2014 .
  3. a b Fiona MacCarthy: 'Mad about sex'. The Guardian, October 17, 2009, accessed December 12, 2012 .

Web links

Commons : Eric Gill  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files