Gill, Eric (1882–1940) By Bergstrom, Tracy; Cribb, Ruth
Eric Gill was a sculptor, typeface designer, printmaker and craftsman associated with the Arts and Crafts movement whose greatest influence was on the development of modern British sculpture in the early 20th century. As an advocate of hand-making in small workshops, he is considered one of the main proponents of the method of direct carving. Through his close working relationship with Jacob Epstein between 1910 and 1912, and receiving support from Roger Fry, Gill’s sculptures were received as representing modernity through direct carving, the simplification and flattening of line and form, and the use of British stones. Gill’s work as a typographer, letter cutter, wood engraver, and essayist also placed him at the heart of many modern movements in Britain during his lifetime, including the Society of Wood Engravers. As a writer and prolific sculptor for public architecture in the 1930s, he became prominent in the popular press. As a Catholic convert, his views and the religious subject matter of his art have complicated his status in the art historical canon. Since his death, his influence and importance have been predominately attributed to his letter cutting and typography.