Eric Gill

Two Alphabets and Numerals


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Not on display
Eric Gill 1882–1940
Hoptonwood stone
Object: 265 x 400 x 28 mm, 7 kg
Transferred from the Victoria & Albert Museum 1983

Catalogue entry

T03734 Two Alphabets and Numerals 1909

Hoptonwood stone, the letters painted 10 1/2 × 15 3/4 × 1 1/8 (265 × 400 × 28)
Inscribed ‘Aabcdefghijklmno/pqqrstuvwxyz &/abcdefghijklmnopqrst/uvwxyz 1234567890/A.E.R. Gill Letter-cutter. Pub. by JOHN HOGG Paternoster Row, London, C.SMITH & Sons, Moulders, Kentish Town, London’
Transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum 1983
Prov: Presented by the artist to the Victoria and Albert Museum 1931 (A. 26–1931)
Exh: British Institute of Industrial Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1931 (no catalogue); travelling exhibitions of the Department of Circulation, Victoria and Albert Museum; Eric Gill, Dartington Cider Press Centre, Dartington, July–August 1979, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, October–November 1979; Strict Delight, the Life and Work of Eric Gill, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, March–April 1980 (L, 17)
Lit: Edward Johnston, Manuscript and Inscription Letters, 1909, plate 14; Evan R. Gill, The Inscriptional Work of Eric Gill an Inventory, 1964, 168 B; Robert Harling, The Letter Forms and Type Designs of Eric Gill, 1976, p.22 and repr. opp. p.17 Also repr: Reproduction in plaster by John Hogg, 1909; coloured reproduction published by Victoria and Albert Museum; a rubbing reproduced as end papers in Robert Speaight, The Life of Eric Gill, 1966

See entry on T03733. The commentary under the reproduction of T03734 in Edward Johnston, op.cit., is:

lower-case italics and numerals incised with ‘V’ section ... These letters are appropriate for all ordinary inscriptions in stone. While they are as easily and quickly made as the more common ‘sans-serif’ or ‘block’ letters, they are at the same time more legible...

This, with T03745 for capital letters, was of considerable influence in Britain, by means of reproductions in Edward Johnston's 1909 portfolio and the plaster casts of the same year.

Amongst the artist's photographs of his own works, sold from the Hague family collection at Sotheby's, 9 November 1981, were photographs of two carved inscriptions by Gill of letters and numerals, both signed and dated 1909. These are similar to T03734 and T03735, but are arranged differently, and they were perhaps intended to be kept by the artist as fair copies.

In T03734 the first two lines of figures are painted red, the third blue and the last blue (the letters) and red (the numbers).

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

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