Eric Gill

English, 1882-1940

Eric Gill’s celebrated printmaking, typeface designs, and sculpture made him one of the most prominent members of the Arts and Crafts movement and earned him the title of Royal Designer of Industry, the highest British award for designers, from the Royal Society of Arts. His sculptures appear prominently on buildings and monuments throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, he designed many well-known typefaces, including Gill Sans, Perpetua, and Joanna, the latter of which he used to hand-set his book, An Essay on Typography. However, his work is now rightfully shadowed by the revelation of his sexual crimes, which only came to light when his diaries became public after his death. He sexually abused any vulnerable person who came within his influence, including his servants, his models, his younger sisters, his dog, and his own daughters, the latter of whom spent their entire childhoods enduring routine rape at the hands of their father – a father who was widely known for his astounding religiosity. The question remains as to whether it is morally right to admire the work of a man whose personal life was unequivocally monstrous – but there is no question that the world was irrevocably marked by his influence.