Catalogue entry

T03741 Inscription ‘Homines Divites’ 1922

Portland stone 9 1/2 × 35 1/4 × 1 (237 × 897 × 35)


Transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum 1983
Prov: Commissioned by Lord Carmichael, 1922; bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum by Lady Carmichael, through the N A–C F, 1947 (Misc. 1–1947)
Exh: Tancred Borenius, Lord Carmichael of Skirling, A Memoir, 1929, pp.272–7; Evan R. Gill, The Inscriptional Work of Eric Gill an Inventory, 1964, 413

Lord Carmichael of Skirling, First Baron (1859–1926), who collected, amongst other things, medieval and renaissance sculpture, commissioned the three inscriptions and the sundial (T03741-T03744) for the garden of his house at 13 Portman Street. The garden also contained other inscriptions and some of his sculpture collection. The artist's diaries record that they were not all carved together (William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles):

28–29 August 1922. Carved ‘Homines Divites ...’ on stone
29–30 December 1922. Carved ‘In Terra Pax...’ and ‘Gloria in Altissimis Deo...’ on slate
29 December 1923–22 January 1924. Carved Sundial ‘Pensa che questa di...’ on slate

The text ‘Homines Divites’ had earlier been used by Gill in a watercolour inscription drawn by a pupil in June 1920 (Evan R. Gill, op.cit., 379B). It is from Ecclesiasticus in Apocrypha, chapter 44 verse 6: ‘Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations.’

Rubbings from the inscriptions for Lord Carmichael are in the collection of the St Bride Printing Library.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986