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Eric Gill

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

In 1924 he moved to Capel-y-ffin in Wales. In 1925 he produced the Perpetua font, based on ancient 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.

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.


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


  • Gill, Eric: Autobiography: Quod Ore Sumpsimus, Jonathan Cape, 1940 (published posthumously) ISBN 1-870495-13-6
  • Speaight, Robert: Life of Eric Gill, 1966
  • Attwater, Donal: A Cell of Good Living, 1969
  • MacCarthy, Fiona: Eric Gill, Faber & Faber, 1989
  • Holliday, Peter: Eric Gill in Ditchling, Oak Knoll Press, ISBN 1584560754
  • Gill, Eric: A Holy Tradition of Working: An Anthology of Writings, Golgonooza Press, 1983, ISBN 090388030X
  • Gill, Eric: An Essay on Typography, 1931, ISBN 0-87923-762-7 (reprint)
  • Gill, Eric: Christianity and Art, 1927
  • Gill, Eric: Work and Property, 1937

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