A gorgeous new edition of Fiona MacCarthy's ground-breaking biography of the artist-craftsman, typographer, and lettercutter, master wood-engraver, and sculptor: Eric Gill.
'Fascinating on the work and fair to the man; a brilliant biography.' Independent
'Scrupulous and sensitive . . . A wise and foolish English eccentric in full glory.' Observer
'Full of insight and interest . . . A considerable addition to modern biography.' Times
Eric Gill was the greatest English artist-craftsman of the twentieth century: a typographer and lettercutter of genius and a master in the art of sculpture and wood-engraving. He was a devoted family man and key figure in three Catholic art and craft communities: yet he also believed in complete sexual freedom. In her controversial, landmark biography, originally published in 1989, celebrated biographer Fiona MacCarthy delves into the complex, dark, and contradictory sides of the man and the artist for the first time - and the result is his definitive portrait.
An English artist-craftsman in the tradition of William Morris, Eric Gill (1882-1940) exemplifies the search for a lifestyle to heal the split between work and leisure, art and industry. He is remembered today for his fine engravings and stone carvings, his legendary typefaces and book designs for the Golden Cockerel Press. Yet there was another side to the man, downplayed by previous biographers: a fervent convert to Catholicism and leader of three Catholic arts-and-crafts communes, Gill had a hyperactive libido which extended to incest with his sisters and daughters, as well as numerous extramarital affairs, according to British writer MacCarthy. He rationalized his penile acrobatics by inventing a bizarre pseudoreligious theory. In MacCarthy's candid portrait, Gill, who preserved the outward image of a devout father-figure, was neither saint nor humbug, but a highly sexed creative artist trapped by his Victorian concept of masculinity. This charismatic firebrand was a renegade Fabian socialist, a bohemian friend of Augustus John and Bertrand Russell. His adventurous life, as re-created in this beautifully written, absorbing biography, is disturbingly relevant to our time. Photos.